Indonesians to get residence permits in southern Philippines

A number of persons of Indonesian descent (PIDs) received symbolic Indonesian passports on Wednesday from Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi. However, the Indonesian Consulate General (KJRI) in Davao City took the passports back right away to collectively apply for the residence permits for free, the Foreign Ministry director for the protection of Indonesian citizens and legal entities abroad, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, said on Monday.

“It would be difficult for them to apply for the permit individually because of geographical reasons and financial constraints,” he told reporters. “The Philippines has been cooperative over our concern to speed up the issuance of the residency permits as we have negotiated this for a long time.”

Iqbal said the permits will be attached to each of the passports when they are given to the PIDs “sometime this year.” The permit issuance was one of the issues Retno raised with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in a meeting last week. More than 2,400 PIDs have been verified by Indonesia and had received citizenship confirmation letters issued by the Indonesian Law and Human Rights Ministry. The letters would serve as the basis to issue Indonesian passports.

Currently, most stateless Indonesians living in the southern Philippines only have Alien Certification Registration (ACR) issued by the Filipino government.

The spokesman of the Directorate General of Immigration, Agung Sampurno, said the Indonesian immigration office had cooperated with various Filipino stakeholders since 2011 to register the residents.

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