Republic Act No. 9139 is known as the “Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000” in the Philippines. Enacted on June 8, 2001, this law introduced changes to the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship for foreigners. It specifically provides for administrative naturalization, a less formal and more streamlined procedure compared to the traditional judicial naturalization process outlined in previous laws.
Key provisions of Republic Act No. 9139 include:
- Eligibility Criteria:
- The law establishes criteria that foreign nationals must meet to be eligible for administrative naturalization. These criteria include residency, good moral character, proficiency in either English or Filipino, knowledge of Philippine government and history, and ownership of real estate in the Philippines.
- Administrative Process:
- RA 9139 introduced a more straightforward administrative process for naturalization. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) play significant roles in the evaluation and approval of naturalization petitions.
- Oath of Allegiance:
- Like other naturalization processes, individuals granted citizenship under RA 9139 are required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
- Publication and Hearing:
- The law mandates the publication of the naturalization petition in a newspaper of general circulation. Any objections from the public are then considered during a hearing.
- Authority of the BI and DOJ:
- The BI conducts initial evaluation, while the DOJ reviews and approves or disapproves the naturalization petition.
Republic Act No. 9139 aimed to provide a more efficient and accessible route for foreigners seeking Philippine citizenship while maintaining the necessary criteria to ensure that individuals granted citizenship have a genuine connection and commitment to the country.