Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Specifics of Philippine Repatriation

Here is a more detailed treatment of the legal situation of a former Philippine citizen who has renounced Philippine citizenship, then returned to re-acquire it. It's taken from the Philippine e-Legal Forum site.

Retention and Re-Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship

Former natural-born Filipinos who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 (”Citizen Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003“) shall enjoy full rights enjoyed by any Filipino, subject to certain conditions enumerated below. Please note that the law covers only “natural-born” Filipinos (born of one or both parents who are Filipino citizens at the time of birth) who acquired foreign citizenship through naturalization.

R.A. 9225 amends Commonwealth Act No. 63, which provides that a Filipino citizen may lose his Philippine citizenship:

1. By naturalization in a foreign country;
2. By express renunciation of citizenship;
3. By subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the constitution or laws of a foreign country upon attaining twenty-one years of age or more;
4. By accepting commission in the military, naval or air service of a foreign country;
5. By cancellation of the certificate of naturalization;
6. By having been declared by competent authority, a deserter of the Philippine armed forces in time of war, unless subsequently, a plenary pardon or amnesty has been granted: and
7. In case of a woman, upon her marriage, to a foreigner if, by virtue of the laws in force in her husband’s country, she acquires his nationality.

Former Filipinos who comply with the requirements under R.A. 9225 (click here for the Implementing Rules and Regulations) can now own land just like any Filipino. This means that they are no longer subject to the limitations under Batas Pambansa 185 (land for residential purposes up to 1,000 sq.m.) or under R.A. 8179, which amends R.A. 7042 (for investment purposes, a maximum of 5,000 for urban land or 3 hectares for rural land).

They can also run for public office, provided that at the time of filing their certificates of candidacy, they renounce all foreign citizenship (as also provided in prevailing jurisprudence).

As mentioned above, the conditions are as follows:

* Those intending to exercise their right of suffrage must meet the requirements under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution, Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as “The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003” and other existing laws;

* Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath;

* Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear to an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities prior to their assumption of office: Provided, That they renounce their oath of allegiance to the country where they took that oath;

* Those intending to practice their profession in the Philippines shall apply with the proper authority for a license or permit to engage in such practice; and

* The right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the Philippines cannot be exercised by, or extended to, those who: (a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of which they are naturalized citizens; and/or (b) are in active service as commissioned or non-commissioned officers in the armed forces of the country which they are naturalized citizens.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Re-acquiring Your Philippine Citizenship

If you renounced your Philippine citizenship in order to become an American citizen, and have since experienced some buyers' remorse, it's not irreversible. You can go back and reclaim your original citizenship, according to "Balik-Pinoy: How to Re-Acquire Your Philippine Citizenship" on The Legal Inclined Blog. (Just don't gripe when a Philippine Revenue Service agent gets in touch for an audit.)

(How to re-acquire your Philippine citizenship)
By Siesta-friendly

Lost your Philippine citizenship yet you want to avail of its benefits eh? Well, the government thought you might feel that way and so enacted the “Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003” (R.A. 9225).

Take note that if you are already a dual citizen (with Philippine citizenship and foreign citizenship), then you need not apply for dual citizenship. Naturally. But, how do you know you’re already a dual citizen? You first have to know 2 basic doctrines in determining nationality: 1) the jus soli (right of soil) doctrine which states that the place of birth determines one’s nationality and 2) the jus sanguinis (right of birth) doctrine which states that the nationality of one’s parent/s determines one’s nationality.

It is important to know that the Philippines follows the right of birth (jus sanguinis) doctrine to determine its citizen’s nationality. Therefore, wherever you may have been born, as long as at least 1 of your parents was a Philippine citizen at the time of your birth, you are a Philippine citizen at birth. You may also be a citizen of the country where you were born in case such country follows the jus soli doctrine to determine its citizen’s nationality.

Thus, if at least 1 of your parents was a Philippine citizen at the time of your birth and you were born in the U.S. - which follows the jus soli doctrine - then you are a U.S and a Philippine citizen at birth. Under U.S. law, you are a U.S citizen since you were born there and under Philippine law you are a Philippine citizen because at least 1 of your parents was a Philippine citizen at the time of your birth. So it’s not necessary for you to apply for dual citizenship. And you can apply for both U.S. and Philippine passports. Sweet.

You must remember that if your Filipino parent/s lost his/her/their Philippine citizenship at the time of your birth, then you are not a Philippine citizen at birth even if you were born in the Philippines.

Clear? Then on we go to the procedural aspect. There are 4 different application procedures depending on your status:

a) Former natural-born Philippine citizen already in the Philippines and BI (Bureau of Immigration)-registered alien - file a petition under oath (the “Petition for Dual Citizenship and Issuance of Identification Certificate”) with the BI for the cancellation of the ACR (Alien Certificate of Registration) and issuance of an Identification Certificate (IC).

b) Former natural-born Philippine citizen who is abroad but a BI-registered alien - file a petition under oath with the nearest Philippine Foreign Post for evaluation. Thereafter, the entire records shall be forwarded to the BI for the cancellation of the ACR and issuance of an IC;

c) Former natural-born Philippine citizen already in the Philippines
and not a BI-registered alien - within 60 days from date of arrival, file a petition under oath with the BI for the issuance of an IC;

d) Former natural-born Philippine citizen who is abroad and not a BI-registered alien - file a petition under oath with the nearest Philippine Foreign Post for the issuance of an IC.

The following shall be attached to the petition, which should all be contained in a legal size folder (according to the BI):

1. 2 recent 2 x 2 colored pictures over white background;

2. Proof of being a natural-born Filipino – at least 1 of the following originals with photocopy:

a) Philippine birth certificate certified by the National Statistics Office (NSO);

b) old Philippine passport;

c) voter’s affidavit or voter’s identification card;

d) marriage contract indicating applicant’s Philippine citizenship;

e) such other document/s that would indicate that the applicant is a natural-born Philippine citizen as may be acceptable to the BI (for example, a former Philippine citizen born abroad shall present a copy of the Report of Birth issued by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate and, in applicable cases, the original copy of the Birth Certificate by competent foreign authorities).

3. foreign passport;

4. Certificate of Naturalization or an original affidavit stating how foreign citizenship was acquired;

5. if the applicant’s name in the birth certificate or other documents is different from that in the foreign passport and other documents, applicant shall execute an affidavit explaining such difference and attach at least 2 documents showing applicant’s correct name;

6. 2 legal size self-addressed stamped envelopes; and

7. proof of payment of application fee - Original Receipt/s (USD50.00 or Php2,500.00)

If the applicant is a BI-registered alien, the following must also be attached:

1. Original ACR, and
2. Original Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR) or Certificate of Residence for Temporary Visitor (CRTV).

For each of the applicant’s unmarried children below 18 years, the following additional documents are required original and photocopy):

1. 2 recent 2 x 2 colored pictures over white background;
2. birth certificate;
3. foreign passport; and
4. proof of payment of application fee - Original Receipt/s (USD25.00 or Php1,250.00).

And what do you get in return? For starters, the right to vote and the opportunity to be voted for a public office (provided you renounce foreign citizenship). Practice professions limited only to citizens (doctors, lawyers, etc.). Own real estate without limit. Travel in and out of the country without obtaining entry visas or paying immigration fees.

Of course, apart from your rights as Philippine citizen, you will also assume the responsibilities and obligations of one. Like the payment of taxes. Gotcha. As well as the responsibility of shouldering the luxurious lives of politicians and government officials and enduring the reality that you can’t do much about it, except gripe. But I digress. Below is the Oath of Allegiance which is the final act that confers Philippine citizenship and which should give you a general idea of what you could be getting yourself into –

“I,___________, solemnly swear (or affirm) 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.”

Before anything else though, it is strongly suggested that you first consult with your local embassy as regards the effects of your obtaining Philippine citizenship on your current foreign citizenship.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Inaugural Post

This is probably a blog that's going to get me into some trouble, and maybe lose some friends. Immigration is a touchy subject, and I don't intend to steer clear of the controversies, or even the polemics. Yet few subjects cry out with more urgency for clear-sighted policy analysis and stubborn integrity. So we're probably going to rip loose a scab or two.

In my inaugural post, I want to refer you to The Hightower Lowdown, a populist newsletter edited by Phillip Frazier and the ever-quotable Jim Hightower, that attempts in its January 2008 issue (vol.10, no.1) to synthesize a middle-of-the-road position on illegal immigration.

Hightower is of course a ferocious partisan, so he prefaces his serious propositions with the standard accusations of xenophobia, racism and demagoguery that are de rigueur among Open Borders activists. But Lowdown goes on to cite polls that show "deep and genuine alarm about (illegal immigration) among the nonxenophobic, nonracist American majority."

"In particular, workaday families are fearful about what an endless flow of low-wage workers portends for their economic future - and they're not getting good answers from Republicans, Democrats, corporate leaders or the media."

Hightower broadens the discussion beyond mere enforcement of immigration laws. The title of his article, "Immigrants Come Here Because Globalization Took Their Jobs Back There," bears the subtitle "Stop Blaming Workers - the Bosses Made This Mess."

Even if there were no illegal workers in our country, Hightower writes, our economy would remain fragile. It was powerful, well-connected corporate interests, not powerless immigrants, who downsized and offshored our middle-class jobs, rewrote bankruptcy laws to let corporations break their union contracts, turned the National Labor Relations Board into a partisan of employers against workers, reclassified millions of employees as independent contractors to deprive them of labor rights and fringe benefits, and turned a blind eye to the re-emergence of sweatshops and child labor.

"Immigration reform cannot be separated from labor and trade reform," Hightower writes. He coins a new term, "NAFTAfication," to describe what he thinks is causing the rush of illegal immigration, mostly from Mexico.

"We must stop the exploitative NAFTAfication of such aspiring economies as Mexico and instead devolop genuine grassroots investment policies that give people there an ability to remain in their homeland. Then we must enforce our own labor laws - from wage and hour rules to the NLRB."

The Lowdown says if we would "go right at the corporate kleptocracy that now owns Washington and controls the debate," we could eliminate the need to migrate from Mexico and revive the American middle class. This, Hightower writes, is "an immigration policy that will work."

I use the Hightower letter as the starting point for this blog, not because I believe it sets out a realistic program, but because I think it assembles all the elements of the illegal immigration debate. The idea that we can eliminate unskilled Mexican and Central American workers' economic motive to escape their homelands is sheer pie in the sky. Mexico is a sovereign country, and its ruling elites will never consent to the sort of intervencion that that would require.

On the contrary, they seem to feel entitled to intervene in our country, negotiating immigration policy with municipal governments and police organizations, contrary to Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution, objecting - despite Article IV, Section 4 - to our construction of fences on our sovereign territory, issuing identification documents from their consulates in U.S. cities, and supervising the labor laws and enforcement of criminal laws against their citizens residing here. We are confronted with an extraterritorialism that no self-respecting republic can accept.

And so we must learn to respect one another again, beginning with one another's sovereignty. In the words of the poet's stolid Vermonter neighbor, "good fences make good neighbors."

I let my neighbour know beyond the hill
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again
We keep the wall between us as we go
To each the boulders that have fallen to each
Mending Wall, Robert Frost

Yet Hightower's class consciousness should not be dismissed. It's true, as he writes, that powerless Mexican immigrants did not engineer our government's disloyalty to the middle class or its indifference to upward mobility.

It is urgent that we fix the illegal immigration problem, but Hightower is right that even if we fix it, it's still going to be a tough, often unfair labor system. U.S. workers shouldn't delude themselves that their future is secure once they put the illegal aliens to flight. If they don't follow up by holding North American elites' feet to the fire on labor reform and trade reform, making the illegals go home will just be an exercise in cruelty.