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Deported Australian found in Manila -

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Deported Australian found in Manila

Reporter: Margot O'Neill

TONY JONES: She's been found. The Australian mother wrongfully deported by the Immigration
Department is alive in the Philippines, being cared for by Catholic nuns. The Government has
already offered to fly Vivian Solon home to be reunited with her family in Brisbane four years
after she was forcibly removed from the country. But while her family rejoices, concerns continue
about Vivian Solon's health and the Government's failure to care for one of its own, and an
Australian priest has claimed that the Government delivered her to a Philippines hospice after she
was deported. This report by Margot O'Neill was produced by Tom Iggulden with assistance from
Hamish Fitzsimmons.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Father Mike Duffin says it's a miracle. Last week, the Philippines-based Catholic
priest happened to be watching ABC's satellite news service in the northern city of Olongapo when
he realised the lost Australian woman, Vivian Alvarez Solon, was the same woman his mission had
been looking after for the past four years.

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN, ST VINCENT'S PARISH CHURCH, OLONGAPO, PHILIPPINES: It's really a miracle. At
about nine o'clock or so I switched on the news and it was her case and they mentioned her name.
And they mentioned a woman who had been 17 years in Australia and had been in an accident and they
said, "Vivian". And as soon as they said "Vivian", I said, "That's our Vivian".

MARGOT O'NEILL: Father Duffin told Vivian Solon about the search for her just last Sunday, and
explained that she could now go back to Australia. Does she think she will come back?

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN: I don't know. I said that to her last Sunday. I said, "But you know," she said,
"How will I get back and pay my fare?" I said, "It will all be paid. Oh, yes, yes." But it hasn't
really gotten through to her, you know?

MARGOT O'NEILL: Did she talk about her children? She has two sons that she left behind.

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN: Yes, she has never mentioned her children very much, except the sisters knew
that she had one. So last Sunday when I went there and said, "Well, but on TV they said you had
two." "Oh, did they say that on TV?" she said. Now, today when we were there they were having a
photo session with her, the AAP, and they were asking a few questions. They said, "Children?" "Yes,
yes." And then I wasn't too sure if she meant one, or more than one, so I said, "Vivian, how many
children you have? It is two?" "Yes, I have two children," she said.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Vivian Solon is being cared for in a mission run by the Mother Theresa Sisters of
Charity. It's a mission for the destitute and dying. Father Duffin says she's quite weak, that
despite being in her early 40s she needs a walking stick and that she's been in a ward full of
elderly people on their death beds.

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN: She's mainly in a bed all the time within this house she is, with all the old
people. She's just been stuck here in this sort of, like a hospice for the dying, for the last four
years.

MARGOT O'NEILL: There are reports here that she has had a history of troubled psychiatric problems
and that by the time she was deported, she may have been mentally unstable. Do you know anything
about that?

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN: I have no, I would say and I asked the sisters. They said, "No, she's not
mentally insane or mentally disturbed or anything." She's a very quiet woman, very soft spoken, and
I think very, very sane.

MARGOT O'NEILL: He finds it difficult to believe that the Australian Government had been unable to
find her.

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN: I find that very, very hard to believe when they are the ones who told her
before she left Australia she was coming to Mother Teresa Sisters, and then when they brought her,
they left her with the Mother Teresa Sisters, the missionaries of charity. So I find it very hard
that the Government don't know where they left her. Do they have no records or do people forget
things as soon as they do them?

MARGOT O'NEILL: Vivian told him she'd been deported after a car accident because she didn't have a
passport.

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN: They didn't believe that she was an Australian citizen and she sort of was so
bashed up and a bit sick that when they said, "Well, we'll give you someone to look after you."
Well, she thought they were helping her. I think at the time she was pretty well battered, you
know. She sort of, she still complains of headaches, but she wasn't really thinking straight.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Father Duffin says he's yet to be contacted by either Australian or Philippine
government authorities. So who contacted you first, the Australian Government or the Australian
media?

FATHER MIKE DUFFIN: The Australian media. The Australian Government, I have no, I have had nothing
to do with the Australian Government whatsoever. Only media.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Tonight, Vivian Alvarez Solon remains in a Philippines hospice for the dying. What
happens next, what the Australian Government will do to help her, and whether or not she even wants
to come back to the country which wrongfully deported her remains unclear.

Margot O'Neill, Lateline.