Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Thursday said the Department of Foreign Affairs should stop collecting “allegiance fees” from Filipinos who want to reacquire their Philippine citizenship.
Drilon made the call during a meeting with the Filipino community in Spain last Oct. 29 regarding the Dual Citizenship Law, which he authored in 2003.
He said Filipinos in Spain and Andorra raised the issue of the supposed allegiance fee, amounting to around 45 euros (about P2,700), before they could take their oath of allegiance to the Philippines.
“The DFA is not an income-generating institution. It exists for the service of Filipino citizens abroad,” Drilon said.
The department should immediately stop collecting the allegiance fee “from Filipinos in various parts of the world, who are applying to reacquire their Philippine citizenship under the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 [Republic Act 9225],” he stressed.
“It would not help us to convince our fellow Filipinos, who have lost their Filipino citizenship, if we continue to burden them with heavy fees,” the senator added.
DFA spokesman Robespierre Bolivar, however, said the department is unaware of Drilon’s claim and assured the senator he would advise all their relevant offices to take appropriate action.
“I haven’t hear of this ‘allegiance fee,’” Bolivar said in a text message.
“I know we have a processing fee, which is for the notarials of the applicants’ documents,” he added.
The spokesman said he will ask for clarification from the DFA’s relevant offices.
Based on a document found on the official DFA website, under Republic Act No. 9225 or the Application for Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition and Issuance of Identification Certificate, Filipinos are required to pay 45 euros among the nine requirements listed.
For requirements for dependents or derivative citizenship, each minor child should pay a fee of 22.50 euros (P1,350).
Under RA 9225, Drilon explained, natural-born Filipinos who lost their Filipino citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country may reacquire Philippine citizenship by taking the Philippine Oath of Allegiance before a duly authorized Philippine official.
The oath does not require a person to renounce his allegiance to any other country, he noted.
Drilon said “bureaucratic requirements have discouraged a greater number of Filipinos from availing of the benefits under the law.”
In 2016, Drilon filed Senate Bill No. 19, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 in order to simplify the manner by which Philippine citizenship is retained or reacquired.