I want to apply for Philippine passport but the DFA is requiring me other documents aside from my birth certificate because my middle name and surname are Chinese sounding names. They ask me about the birth certificates of my parents and their certificates of naturalization. Where do I start looking for these documents?
Dear G. Chui,
A Philippine passport is a document only accorded to Philippine citizens. As such, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which is in charge of the issuance thereof, may require other documents to satisfy the officers thereof that the applicant is qualified thereto. As in your case, you must prove that you have Philippine parentage as it appears that the DFA has doubts over your claim of Philippine citizenship since your middle name and last name are both Chinese sounding names.
Philippine citizenship is generally acquired either by (1) birth or (2) naturalization. In the Philippines, a person, either he is legitimate or illegitimate, becomes a Filipino if one of his parents is Filipino citizen at the time of his birth (Article IV, Section 1, 1987 Constitution and Article III, Section 1, 1973 Constitution). However, if he was born before January 17, 1973, a person born to Filipino mother and foreign father, is Filipino if he has elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority (Article IV, Section 1, 1987 Constitution and Article III, Section 1, 1973 Constitution). If a child is illegitimate, the child shall follow the citizenship of his mother. A person may likewise acquire citizenship by naturalization, which is defined as the judicial act of adopting a foreigner and clothing him with privileges of a native-born citizen. Naturalization implies the renunciation of a former nationality and the fact of entrance into a similar relation towards a new body politics (2 Am. Jur. 561, par.188, cited Ronaldo P. Ledesma’s An Outline of Philippine Immigration and Citizenship Laws, 2006 Edition, page 537).
Thus, it is necessary to produce the birth certificate of your parents in order to show that you were born of Filipino parentage. Otherwise, a copy of your certificate of naturalization or that of your parents is required to prove Philippine citizenship. Before you start gathering documentary requirements for your passport application, it is best to interview or ask your parents of their origin on how they or their parents became Filipino. You may request for a copy of your parents’ birth certificates from the National Statistics Office (NSO) in order to determine their citizenship and that of their parents. If your parents or grandparents were naturalized as Filipino, you may secure a copy of their identification certificates to prove naturalization either at the NSO, court or agency approving the petition or application for naturalization.
Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are elaborated therein.