When RA9225 (otherwise known as the Philippine Dual Citizenship law) was made into law on August 29, 2003, I remember hearing about a lot of Filipinos abroad being interested in re-acquiring their Filipino citizenship. Not only could they engage in business, vote and own property in the Philippines but also has the option to retire there in the future. It certainly sounded like a good idea for the government to finally recognise that Filipinos who were naturalised citizens in their country of residence could continue to contribute to the growth of the Philippines.

I initially thought that people who lost their Filipino citizenship prior to the passing of this law would have to apply to re-acquire their citizenship while Filipinos who become naturalised citizens of other countries after September 17, 2003 (when the law went into effect) would automatically be dual citizens. I recently learned that this is not the case – all Filipinos who become naturalised citizens of other countries automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and should submit a petition to the Philippine embassy in their country to have it re-instated. No big deal, right? Well, once you take into account the number of documentation they are asking for and the AUD$100 fee, you start to question the process. And don’t get me started on that oath-taking ceremony they could only administer in either Sydney or Canberra. Tough luck to those of you who don’t reside in either area.

To compare, please see the table below in this comparison of applying for Australian citizenship versus the process of applying for re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship. Why the list of requirements to retain Filipino citizenship is longer than the list to apply for Australian naturalisation is beyond me. Shouldn’t copies of the birth certificate, old passport and marriage be enough? As well, the requirement to take the oath-taking in either Sydney or Canberra is a big hassle for Filipinos living elsewhere in Australia who are considering this step. Do they propose to pay your airfare and possible lost income in attending the ceremony?

Australia (naturalisation)* Philippines (retention/re- acquisition)**
Method Online/email Post (snail mail)
  • PR visa holder
  • present in Australia for 2 years in the previous 5 years, incl. for 12 months in past 2 years
  • Basic knowledge of English
Natural-born citizen or dependent of a natural-born citizen
Required to attend a short interview? Yes, to look over your application form and documents and learn about the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship to assess that you understand and speak basic English No
Supporting documents needed
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Evidence of permanent residence (visa)
  • Proof of any changes of name (i.e. marriage cert.)
  • Police clearance certicates (if overseas for 12 months or more)
  • NSO-certified birth certificate
  • Old passport
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Marriage contract
  • 3 recent 2×2 photos showing front, left and right side views of applicant over white background
  • original or certified copy of Certificate of Foreign Citizenship
  • photocopy of data page of applicant’s foreign passport or driver’s license
Fee $120 $100
Method of payment Credit card Bank cheque or postal money order
Oath-taking Venue Local government council office or at a location near you Sydney or Canberra
Oath From this time forward, (under God), I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose Democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.
I, ___________, solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and local orders promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines, and I hereby declare that I recognise and accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto, and that I
impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

*Source: Australian citizenship website **Source:Philippine embassy in Australia

Then there’s the subject of the fee. The FAQ document in the Philippine embassy’s website claims that this is an administration fee covering all expenses in the processing of documents and oath-taking. Again, why even have this oath-taking in the first place? Shouldn’t the signed application sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace by the applicant be enough to signal his/her desire to be a Filipino again?

The whole thing reeks too much of bureaucracy and looks like yet another money-making vehicle by the Philippine government. How ironic is it that ex-Filipinos may well be discouraged in taking this step simply because it is too much trouble, costs too much money and remind them of the red tape that is one of the reason why they left the Philippines in the first place?

So if you’re a Filipino who is currently a permanent resident of Australia, would you a). apply for
naturalisation, lose your Filipino citizenship and apply to retain it; b). remain a permanent resident of Australia indefinitely while to maintain your Filipino citizenship; or c). apply for naturalisation and forget about re-acquiring your Filipino citizenship altogether?

I guess the question is, what is the Filipino citizenship really worth to you these days?

Published in: on March 21, 2006 at 12:20 pm  Comments (7)  

Weekend Socialising

Although I appreciate having a lot of “me” time, I cannot go on for very long without socialising with friends. This is why Raquel calls me an extrovert despite my claims of being an introvert. Okay, maybe I’m somewhere in between — an Introverted Extrovert or an Extroverted Introvert, if there’s such a thing. This past weekend, at least I was able to appease the extrovert in me.

Friday night, our friend Chinita invited the group to join her and the “food-trippers” group for a 7pm dinner and a movie afterwards in the city. Due to another engagement, we couldn’t go and stay the whole night in the city. So, I declined the invitation.

After eating dinner in the city anyway that Friday night, I looked at my watch and saw that it was almost 7pm anyway so Raquel and I went to the restaurant where they were supposed to be having dinner and just greet Chinita personally a “Happy Birthday” and say hi to the others.

On the way to the restaurant, we saw RC, T and Lin crossing the street at Russel Street. We thought it would be funny to sneak up on them from behind. We snuck behind Lin, started walking beside her and then talked to her about her permanent residency application, much to her surprise.

We all stopped at the corner just before the restaurant and waited for Chinita who was running late (as usual, so I heard). They estimate Chinita to show up about 7.30pm. While waiting for her, we just stayed at that corner and talked up a storm about anything and everything.

Chinita arrived at 7.30 as predicted. We greeted her Happy Birthday and we should’ve been on our way then. Instead, Raquel and I accompanied them in the restaurant and had some drinks. Along with the drinks came more talking, of course. What was supposed to be just a short few minutes of catching-up conversation turned to be an hour-and-a-half story swapping.

The next day, just for kicks, I asked our neighbor friend M and Ira if they wanted to play a quick game of tenpin bowling in the afternoon at the nearby Werribee bowling centre. As Ira has driving lessons, she postponed it for 6.30pm which was just fine.

So while waiting for 6.30pm, M dropped by the house and we had a guitar jamming session. As I’m still quite the guitar newbie, these sessions usually turn out to be impromptu guitar lessons with M as the master and me as the grasshopper.

We were so preoccupied with our guitar playing that we didn’t realise that it was already past 6.30pm and Ira was texting us that she, Ej and Ej’s beau Tn were already at the Werribee train station waiting for us.

We had forgotten about the Weerama Festival held in and around Werribee. In fact, they had closed the street adjacent to the train station because it was the venue for the fair. When we got there to pick up Ira, Ej and Tn, there was this band playing on stage playing 80’s hits. It was great!

After eating some pancakes, watching the band and some chatting, we left for the bowling centre. We paid for two games. Fortunately, there was a Saturday night discount where adults only need to pay children prices. Cool.

M wore his now trademark bowling glove and bowled up quite a game. Not only that, he also caught the attention of the bowling attendant girl that invited him (and us) to join the league. We teased M that maybe all he needed to get the girls was to just show up at the bowling centre with the bowling glove on.

After the game, we tried looking for a place to play some billiards but to no avail. In the end, we just spent the remainder of the night singing karaoke on M’s Magic Mic. We finished at about half-past-midnight. Whoa.

When I woke up Sunday morning, my throat was slightly sore but it was okay as I had enjoyed myself singing to my heart out the night before. Man, that Magic Mic has a lot of songs! Makes me want to buy one myself. Either that or the Singstar game for the Playstation 2. Hmm.

Published in: on March 21, 2006 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)