By Hannah Torregoza and Roy Mabasa
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to stop collecting allegiance fee from Filipinos who want to re-acquire their Philippine citizenship.
Drilon made the call following his meeting with the Filipino community in Spain last Oct. 29, where he discussed the Dual Citizenship Law, which he authored in 2003.
According to Drilon, the Filipino community in Spain and Andora raised the issue involving the collection of the allegiance fee amounting to around 45 euros before they could take their Oath of Allegiance to the Philippines.
Drilon pointed out that the DFA “is not an income-generating institution.”
“It (DFA) exists for the service of Filipino citizens abroad,” Drilon said in a statement.
“The DFA should immediately stop the collection of the allegiance fee from Filipinos in various parts of the worlds, who are applying to re-acquire their Philippine citizenship under the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9225),” he stressed.
Drilon was Senate President when the measure was passed into law.
Under the law, he said natural-born Filipinos who lost their Filipino citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country may re-acquire Philippine citizenship by taking the Philippine Oath of Allegiance before a duly authorized Philippine official.
He said the oath does not require a person to renounce his allegiance to any other country.
Drilon noted that bureaucratic requirements have discouraged a greater number of Filipinos from availing of the benefits under the law.
Drilon said he has already 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.
“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,” Drilon pointed out.