Natural-born Filipino who acquired foreign citizenship can still buy land in the Philippines

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dearpao
Dear PAO,
I am a former Filipino and now a German citizen. Can I still buy land in the Philippines?
SM

Dear SM,
As a rule, ownership of lands in the Philippines is reserved to Filipinos only (Section 2, Article XII, 1987 Constitution). As an exception, foreigners shall be allowed to acquire private lands in cases of hereditary succession (Section 7, Article XII, 1987 Constitution). A different rule, however, shall be observed in case of a former natural born Filipino who became a citizen of other countries. Section 8, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution allows such citizens to be a transferee of private lands, subject to limitations provided by law.

Such limitation is provided in Section 5 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8179, to wit:
Section 5. The Foreign Investments Act is further amended by inserting a new section designated as Section 10 to read as follows:

“Section 10. Other Rights of Natural Born Citizen Pursuant to the provisions of Article XII, Section 8 of the Constitution. – Any natural born citizen who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under the Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of five thousand (5,000) square meters in the case of urban land or three (3) hectares in the case of rural land to be used by him for business or other purposes. In the case of married couples, one of them may avail of the privilege herein granted: provided, that if both shall avail of the same, the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein fixed.

“In case the transferee already owns urban or rural land for business or other purposes, he shall still be entitled to be a transferee of additional urban or rural land for business or other purposes which when added to those already owned by him shall not exceed the maximum areas herein authorized.

“A transferee under this Act may acquire not more than two (2) lots which should be situated in different municipalities or cities anywhere in the Philippines: provided that the total land area thereof shall not exceed five thousand (5,000) square meters in the case of urban land or  three (3) hectares in the case of rural land for use by him for business or other purposes. A transferee who has already acquired urban land shall be disqualified from acquiring rural land and vice versa”.

Hence, you may still be able to buy lands in the Philippines subject to the aforementioned limitations even if you are already a German citizen, provided that you are considered a natural born Filipino citizen. For this purpose, a natural born citizen refers to a person who is a citizen of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his/her Philippine citizenship. A person who was born before January 17, 1973 of a Filipino mother and who elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority shall also be considered a natural born citizen (Section 2, Article IV, 1987 Constitution).

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this  is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

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