As a missionary nun, Sr. Patricia “Pat” Fox has immersed herself in development programs that address the issues confronting poor farmers and indigenous peoples. In 1991 she was among the church people who helped set up the Central Luzon Disaster Response Network (CLDRN) that addressed various calamities experienced by poor and marginalized communities. And on April 10, 2000 CLDRN’s member organizations established a non-government organization (NGO), the Alay Bayan Incorporated (ABI) for disaster management to provide services to calamity survivors.
Sr. Pat was among the first board members of ABI. She often joined relief delivery operations and rehabilitation projects. And in 2009 she also participated in the implementation of shelter assistance for those affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
Capacity Building for People’s Organizations
Her congregation Sisters of Our Lady of Sion also initiated a savings and lending project in Real, Quezon. Sr. Pat helped facilitate project implementation and evaluation activities for this project. Giselle Montano, Executive Director of the Management Advancement Systems Association, Inc. (MASAI) recalls that Sr. Pat personally went to their office to arrange a meeting between MASAI and the women residents of Real town in Quezon. “She really made sure that the women’s organization involved in the project were provided with trainings in project management and participatory evaluation”. Sr. Pat and her congregation believe in women’s empowerment through capacity building and shun the purely welfare and dole-out projects.
As National Coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Sr. Pat led in the conduct of project management trainings for RMP chapters in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. RMP’s trainees during her time (2000-2007) went on to conceptualize, plan and implement pioneering programs for the indigenous peoples in Mindanao.
Key personnel of RMP in Southern Mindanao and Northern Mindanao first learned the basics of proposal preparation and development from the trainings pioneered by Sr. Pat and her staff at RMP National Office. Supporting each other, various RMP chapters came up with literacy and numeracy programs and agricultural schools for indigenous peoples. They also helped solicit books, notebooks and supplies for children in these schools. Community-based health programs and sustainable agriculture projects were also undertaken in Northern Luzon.
Sr. Pat remembers the projects that were undertaken when she worked as volunteer for the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA). “We had pilot farming projects in Hacienda Luisita and health and literacy projects in Negros Occidental”. She also joined a team from another group, Suhay, which implemented agricultural production trainings and alternative marketing in Hacienda Luisita.
“Sr. Pat is a long-time development worker who believes in the people’s capacity to promote and defend their right to development. She is an inspiration to many to continue the work for the poor”, Bishop Dindo Ranojo, ASCENT Spokesperson asserts.
“The Filipino people will not allow her to be deported and we call on government to respond positively to her appeal against the deportation order issued against her by the Bureau of Immigration (BI)”, Bishop Ranojo further avers. ###