Monday, November 19, 2007

43,000 regain Filipino citizenship


The Philippine Star

Some 43,000 former Filipino citizens have reacquired their Filipino citizenship in the past three years under the dual citizenship law, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) revealed Sunday.

Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said 28,400 applications for dual citizenship have been approved in various Philippine consulates abroad while some 14,479 were processed at the BI main office in Manila.

Former Filipinos who became American citizens topped the list of applicants whose dual citizenship were approved. Many Filipino-Canadians and Filipino-Australians have also reacquired Filipino citizenship.

"As a result, these former Pinoys are again enjoying their rights and privileges as citizens of the Philippines," stressed Libanan, a former congressman and one of the principal authors of Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act.

It was in 2003 when Congress passed the act but the BI started processing applications only in April 2004 after MalacaƱang designated the bureau as the lead implementing agency of the law.

The dual citizenship law declares that former natural-born Filipinos who later became naturalized citizens of other countries have not lost their Philippine citizenship.

Libanan said the law was enacted in line with the thrust of President Arroyo’s administration to encourage former Filipinos who are now living abroad to return to the land of their birth and buy property or invest in business here.

Manuel Ferdinand Arbas, who heads the BI technical staff on dual citizenship, said his team receives an average of 15 applications for dual citizenship a day.

Philippine Politics