I am a Chinese citizen. I was born in 1977, in Manila, Philippines. My parents are both Chinese citizens, but they acquired Philippine citizenship through naturalization in 1978 and 1980. I have been living here in the Philippines all my life. The truth is, I have never been to China, although I have visited related countries/places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
I have always wanted to become a Filipino citizen, but could not afford yet to apply for citizenship. I do have an Immigrant Certificate of Resi¬dence (ICR) and Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR). I am a Bible-believing Christian, and I believe in the Philippine Constitution. I obey Philippine laws and I also love Filipino culture. I have not committed a crime, neither do I believe in polygamy. I rent a condominium unit where my wife, children and I live. I work for a reputable company here in the Philippines, and I am able to speak and write both English and Filipino. I am hoping you can advise me on how I can apply for Philippine citizenship. I have been really saving up for this, because I love it here and I want to eventually buy and own a real property where my family and I can settle in. Thank you in advance for whatever advice you can give me.
If your parents acquired Philip¬pine citizenship through naturaliza¬tion without including you as their dependent, then you would have to file your own petition for naturaliza¬tion in order to become a Filipino citizen. We believe that it would be most suitable for you to apply for administrative naturalization, given that you were born here in the Philip¬pines, have been residing here since your birth, you are already of legal age, and you are able to speak and write both English and Filipino.
However, apart from the foregoing, you must establish that you are in possession of the following qualifi¬cations: (a) You must be of good moral character, believe in the underlying principles of the Constitution, and must have conducted yourself in a proper and irreproachable manner during your entire period of residence in the Philippines in your relation with the duly constituted government as well as with the community in which you are living in; (b) You must have received your primary and secondary education in any public or private educational institution duly recognized by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now Department of Education), where Philippine history, government and civics are taught and prescribed as part of the school curriculum and where enrolment is not limited to any race or nationality. If you have minor children of school age, you must have enrolled them in similar schools; (c) Your income from your profession is sufficient to support yourself and your family; and (d) You must have mingled with Filipinos and evinced desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipino people. (Section 3, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9139, other¬wise known as The Adminis¬tra¬tive Naturalization Law of 2000) It is likewise essential for you not to possess any of the disqualifications mentioned under Section 4 of R. A. No. 9139.
Your petition for naturalization must be filed before the Special Committee on Naturalization. Its principal office is located at the Office of the Solicitor-General, Makati City. The contents of the petition as well as the accompany¬ing documents thereto are specifi¬cally mentioned under Sections 7 and 8 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing R. A. No. 9139. For your guidance, the filing and docket fee amounts to a total of P40,000 and P1,000 shall be paid upon purchase of the petition form and P39,000 shall be paid upon the filing of the petition. (http://www.osg.gov.ph/126-2/)
If it is determined that the petition is complete, pertinent portions thereof shall be published once a week, for three consecutive weeks in a duly accredited news¬paper of general circulation. The publication fee ranges from P30,000 to P60,000 and is paid directly to the accredited publishing company. (http://www.osg.gov.ph/126-2/) Copies of the entire petition shall also be posted in any public or conspicuous area. (Section 10, IRR, R. A. No. 9139). Thereafter, the petition shall be reviewed by the Committee and interview may be conducted. If your petition is approved, you will be notified and you must settle the naturalization fee amounting to P100,000.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice 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.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org