Senate scraps ‘allegiance fee’ for dual citizenship

Photo via unipronow.org

By Patricia Lourdes Viray/philstar.com – The Senate finance committee has adopted an amendment for the proposed 2019 national budget, which directs the Department of Foreign Affairs to stop collecting fees from Filipinos who want to reacquire their Philippine citizenship.

During the budget hearing, DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano mentioned that the department is considering the proposal of Sen. Franklin Drilon to remove the fee for oath taking.

In November 2017, Drilon asked the DFA to stop collecting “allegiance fees” from Filipinos in various parts of the world who are applying to reacquire their Philippine citizenship.

The Philippine government is currently collecting €45 or $50 from Filipinos who want to reacquire their Philippine citzenship, which refer to the “one time fee for the processing of the application and issuance of the corresponding Identification Certificate.”

“We will put a supporting study with it to show that not only is the loss of revenue negligible but the tendency of a person who now has a Philippine passport to participate in the Filipino community,” Cayetano told the Senate panel.

Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate finance committee, immediately recommended the adoption of the amendment even without Cayetano’s proposal to include the study.

“We consider it adopted as of this hearing so there will be no fees regardless of a study, how much it will generate for the Philippine government,” Legarda said.

Legarda is yet to check if the veto for the proposal was conditional but assured the Senate panel that they are adopting the amendment for the proposed 2019 budget.

Drilon added that he was disappointed when the Department of Budget and Management vetoed his proposal to scrap the fee as it will result in a loss of revenue for the government.

He noted that the total fees the Philippine government is collecting is significant and suspected that his proposal was vetoed as he was a member of the opposition.

“Indeed, I could not understand why did the budget department recommended the veto of this very simple provision. How much do we earn from this? Very negligible,” Drilon said.

Drilon expressed his hope that the Cayetano would support the proposal to stop collecting fees from Filipinos who want to reacquire their citizenship.

The senator authored Republic Act 9225, which states that natural-born Filipinos who lost their citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country may reacquire their Philippine citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the country before a duly appointed Philippine official.

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