A Catholic bishop from the central Philippines called on the Immigration bureau to reconsider an order to send Dutch missionary Otto de Vries out of the country.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said the cancellation of Otto Rudolf De Vries permanent resident visa was based upon “false and malicious allegations.”
De Vries, a 62-year-old Church worker from The Netherlands, has been ordered out of the country for reportedly joining anti-government demonstrations.
The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency alleged that De Vries had “engaged and was actively participating in protest rallies of Communist-Terrorist Groups front organizations.”
Bishop Alminaza, chairperson of the group Church-Workers Solidarity, said that “contrary to the allegations … organizing workers’ associations and unions … does not constitute acts of terrorism.”
“Neither is doing research work about the concrete conditions of the working class an illegal political activity,” read a statement issued by the bishop of February 21.
“For years, he was involved in various NGOs and Church-based organizations advancing the rights of the poor, marginalized, and oppressed for many years,” read the statement.
Bishop Alminaza said the 62-year old Catholic missionary from The Netherlands has “exemplified, concretized, and lived out the mission of the church to become a Church of the Poor.”
Last week, Immigration commissioner Jaime Morente said the order against De Vries was based on the bureau’s “rule prohibiting foreigners in the country from engaging in any political activity.”
Morente said the accusations against the Dutch missionary came from “reliable information from government intelligence sources.”