By Roy Mabasa
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) today denied allegations made by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that it is collecting “allegiance fee” from overseas Filipinos who are applying for reacquisition of their citizenship.
In a statement, the DFA said the amount of 45 euro or the equivalent of US$50 (P2,600) does not correspond to an allegiance fee but instead refers to the “one-time fee” for the processing of the application and issuance of the corresponding identification certificate of the applicants.
DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar explained that the collection of the US$50 from applicants for “dual citizenship” is authorized under memorandum circular MCL-08-006 2008 and circular AFF-04-01 promulgated by the Bureau of Immigration.
He added that these memorandum circulars implement the provisions of Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, the same law that Drilon has mentioned in his press release.
Bolivar added that the Bureau of Immigration is the implementing agency of Republic Act 9225.
In his meeting with the Filipino community in Spain and Andora early this week, Drilon called on the DFA to stop collecting the so-called allegiance fee. Drilon is in Europe on an official mission, according to his office in Manila.
“The DFA is not an income-generating institution. It exists for the service of Filipino citizens abroad,” Drilon said.
The senator averred that these fees “would not help us convince our fellow Filipinos, who have lost their Filipino citizenship, if we continue to burden them with heavy fees.”
In 2016, Drilon filed Senate Bill19, 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.