The wrongful deportation of Filipino-Australian woman Vivian Alvarez has angered the Filipino community in Australia which has already grown to more than a hundred thousand. The community now questions not only the detention and deportation processes of the Immigration Department, but also how citizenship is valued in this country.
Vivian Alvarez’s case was so blatantly dismissed and mis-handled by government officials that the Prime Minister was prompted to offer a qualified apology. Mr Howard’s apology is surprising considering this is the PM who cannot bring himself to say "sorry" to the Stolen Generations. Had it not been for the exposure of Cornelia Rau’s detention, Vivian’s deportation four years ago could still be hidden from public scrutiny.
As a national network of Filipino groups and individuals advocating for the welfare of Filipinos in Australia and their families, we are helping to get more information about Vivian Alvarez through our networks in the Philippines. We are appalled at the Australian authorities not wanting to be transparent and failing to fully cooperate with the Philippine police to discover her whereabouts.
The Centre for Philippine Concerns Australia joins the call for a wide-ranging Public Inquiry into unlawful detention.
The Filipino community in Australia will not take this lightly. We need to get to the truth of Vivian Alvarez’s case and on behalf of all Australian citizens and residents of this country, we want this government to put in place procedures, mechanisms and legislation that will prevent another incident of this kind.
CENTRE FOR PHILIPPINE CONCERNS AUSTRALIA (CPCA)