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Australian nuns want 'best outcome' for Philippines sister

Patricia Fox ordered to leave Duterte’s nation, accused of ‘disorderly conduct’

News that Australian nun Patricia Fox is to be expelled from the Philippines has come as a surprise to the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, the Catholic order Fox belongs to.

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“We are very conscious of the people Pat works with and that they are kept safe too.”

Sister Mary Barbuto, co-leader of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in the Australian region, told Eternity Fox’s work in the Philippines had not been on their radar more than usual.

“We didn’t have any idea that this was going to happen. We didn’t have any concern that she would be singled out in this way,” said Barbuto.

Fox studied at Our Lady of Sion College in Box Hill, Victoria, about 50 years ago, but has lived and worked in the Philippines for almost 30 years.

“Our hope is that the best outcome will be achieved for all parties concerned,” Barbuto said. “We are very conscious of the people Pat works with and that they are kept safe too.”

Known as Sister Pat, the 71-year-old has been accused of taking part in activities against President Rodrigo Duterte’s government, such as rallies. Her renewable missionary visa was cancelled on Monday by the Philippines immigration bureau, after President Duterte last week ordered an investigation into Fox’s “disorderly conduct”.

“You do not have that right to criticise us.” – President Duterte

“It’s a violation of sovereignty,” Duterte said about Fox’s alleged conduct, during a speech he gave to soldiers. “You do not have that right to criticise us. Do not insult my country.”

Fox has officially been given 30 days to leave the Philippines after “she was found to have engaged in activities that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa.”

Sister Mary did not know what Fox might do once she left the Philippines.

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