3rd Methodist missionary leaves Philippines after expulsion
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Methodist missionary Miracle Osman left the Philippines after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) served her an order to leave due to her alleged involvement in political activities, her lawyer said Friday evening, July 13.
Osman of Blantyre, Malawi, exited the Philippines on Thursday, July 12. She was the third Methodist missionary recently expelled – and blacklisted – from the Philippines.
"Yes, she left yesterday for Malawi," her lawyer Kristina Conti of the Public Interest Law Center said in a text message to Rappler on Friday evening.
"She was surprised to have been served an order to leave last week. She was not subject to formal investigation, which was irregular. She wasn't given due process, but graciously accepted the decision," Conti said.
Rappler is still trying to reach the BI for confirmation as of posting time.
Conti said Osman was ordered to leave for joining a "fact-finding mission" in Mindanao. She said this accusation was "incorrect, however, because they also included her in the Lake Sebu fact-finding team."
The Lake Sebu fact-finding team looked into an incident in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, where soldiers allegedly killed at least 8 indigenous people in December 2017.
Conti clarified that Osman "was with another team, in another site."
Earlier, Methodist missionaries Adam Thomas Shaw and Tawanda Chandiwana also left the Philippines for supposedly engaging in political activities. The BI also accused Shaw and Chandiwana of overstaying.
Chandiwana spent more than 8 weeks in detention.
In a statement, Thomas Kemper, United Methodist Global Ministries official, maintained that the 3 missionaries "were sent to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world," which includes "standing up for life where it is threatened."
"We will not stop sending missionaries to everywhere in the world because that is our calling as United Methodists. And, therefore, our rejoicing is mixed with great regret that these missionaries had to leave the Philippines and their place of ministry," Kemper said.
Before the 3 Methodist missionaries made headlines, the BI had also accused Australian Catholic nun Sister Patricia Fox of joining political activities. Because of this, the BI on April 23 ordered Fox to leave the Philippines. The Department of Justice later allowed her to stay in the country for now.
Government critics fear a crackdown on foreign missionaries as President Rodrigo Duterte detests foreigners who speak out against his administration. The BI denied it is cracking down on foreign missionaries in the Philippines. – Rappler.com