More fun to be Pinoy, immigration data show

Not only is it more fun in the Philippines; it's also more fun to be Pinoy, with the government noting a surge in the number of Filipinos who reacquired citizenship in the Philippines last year.

A total of 30,362 applications for dual citizenship have been reported by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in 2012, up 57 percent from 19,328 a year ago.

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Of the total, 5,564 petitions were filed at the bureau's main office in Manila, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David, Jr. was quoted in the government's news agency as saying.

The rest coursed applications through various Philippine consulates abroad, David added.

Naturally born Filipinos who are now American citizens topped the list of applicants, the Philippine News Agency quoted BI legal officer Marc Anthony Antonio as saying.

They were followed by Britons and Canadians, with most of the petitions filed at the Philippine consulates in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, and London.

Also read: PH named 'most emotional society' in global list

Dual citizenship is granted under Republic Act 9225, which allows naturally born Filipinos who became naturalized citizens of other countries to remain Philippine citizens.

Aside from submission of required documents, the application involves taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and a processing fee of P3,000.

Since the implementation of the dual citizenship law in 2004, about 150,000 natural-born Filipinos worldwide have availed of the process, Antonio said.

Related story: PH rises in 'corruption perception' rankings

Dual citizenship recently gained attention in the Philippines amid a disqualification case filed against actor Aga Muhlach, who is running for Camarines Sur representative.

A Camarines Sur resident has accused Muhlach of being a Spanish citizen, having applied for citizenship in Spain while failing to apply for dual citizenship.

The 1987 Constitution requires those running for government positions to be "naturally born" Filipino citizens.

Muhlach's lawyers have asked for the case to be dismissed, however, noting that the actor is Filipino and did not swear allegiance to Spain.

Muhlach's father was a naturalized Filipino and his mother was a naturally born citizen.

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