POSTSCRIPT / September 23, 1999 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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How dual citizenship is recognized by gov’t

OUR saying in a previous column that the next millennium starts at the first tick of the clock after Dec. 31, 2000, and not after Dec. 31, 1999, has raised a howl among many readers who insist that the next millennium starts after midnight of Dec. 31, 1999.

There were others who agreed with us, such as tireless letter-writer Paul Mortel of Marikina, but we want to focus on those who disagreed.

Commodore Carlos L. Agustin (ret.), president of the Maritime League said in an email:

“The discrete count of peso bills (used in a Postscript illustration) does not represent the factual count in time, for the exact tick of the clock we call second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade, century or millennium refers to the end of that period.

“Let us say that Juan, who has an unlimited life span, was born exactly as the Gregorian calendar started the first millennium. He began to breathe the first second after Year Zero. On Year 1, Juan would have reached his first birthday, and starts his second year.

“On Year 100, Juan would have reached his 100th birthday, and starts his second century. On Year 1000, Juan would have reached his 1000th birthday, and starts his second millennium. And finally on year 2000, Juan would have reached his 2000th birthday, and at the first tick of the clock on Jan. 1, 2000, starts his third millennium.

“If we go back to your currency example, we should break up the money into its parts, e.g., 100 centavos making one peso. The first peso represents completion of 100 centavos; the 10th peso represents completion of 1000 centavos, and the 100th peso represents completion of 10,000 centavos.

“In your example, you used 1001 as the serial number of the first P10 bill. Therefore, the last bill would certainly be numbered 2000. This is because the count of P1 bills accumulated from 1001 and therefore would end at 2000. If we use this analogy, then we will say that the second millennium started in 1001 rather than in 1000 (or that the Gregorian calendar started one second after Year 1 — not one second after Year Zero).”

* * *

SORRY to impose on those who are not interested in whatever year the next millennium starts, but we can’t let go this engrossing exchange while we’re enjoying it.

Commodore Agustin said, “If we use this analogy (of the paper bills used in Postscript’s explanation of the next millennium), then we will say that the second millennium started in 1001 rather than in 1000….”

That is precisely what we’re saying – that the second millenium actually started in 1001. Year 1000 was not the start of the second millenium, simply because 1000 was part of the first millennium. Year 1000 was the last year of the first millennium, in the same way that 2000 is the last year of the second millennium.

With 2000 being the last year of the second millennium, then the first tick of the clock after 2000 (or after Dec. 31, 2000) – which by that time would be 2001 – is the start of the third millennium.

* * *

Rodolfo F. Florentino, president of the Philippine Association of Nutrition, also says:

“Your (Postscript’s) example of P10 bills is misleading. The first P10 (with Serial No. 1001) actually consists of 1,000 one-centavo coins. Before you can have your first P10, you start from zero, and proceed to count one centavo, two centavos, etc., until you have 1,000 one-centavo coins, which is now equivalent to your first P10 bill. In other words, before you can count your first P10 you have to start from zero.”

Postscript: We agree with the above paragraph.

Dr. Florentino continues: “This is similar to reckoning your age. When you are born, your age is zero; you are not one year old. You are one year old only at your first birthday. In other words, you start your first year of life at birth (age 0) and end the first year upon reaching your first birthday. At that point you are one year old and starting your second year of life.”

Postscript: We agree that we start our first year at birth, but disagree with the good doctor that our age at birth is zero. Our chronological age is some fraction of time, but certainly not zero. We disagree that we “end the first year (of your life) upon reaching your first birthday.” Our first birthday anniversary is still part of our first year – it is not the end of our first year and we are not at that point already “starting your second year of life.” We start our second year at the tick of the clock AFTER our first birthday, not during.”

* * *

LET us offer another illustration for those who still don’t see the point that 2000 is the last year of the second millennium; and that being part of the second millenium, 2000 therefore cannot be part of or be the start of the third millennium.

Let us show that all the days and all the milliseconds of 2000 are part of the second millennium. The next or third millennium can start only AFTER 2000 — on Jan. 1, 2001 — and not on Jan. 1, 2000.

Draw a straight line 10 inches long, left to right, on a wide sheet of paper. Mark each inch starting with 0 on the left end of the line, 1 on the first notch marking the first inch, 2 on the second, etc., until you mark 10 at the right end of the line. You have a 10-inch line marked 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 from left to right.

* * *

NOW extend the straight line and draw another 10 inches in the same manner and the same direction as the first 10 inches. Continue marking the inches from 11 to 20. You have a 20-inch straight line marked at regular intervals.

The part marked 0-1 is the first inch, the next one marked 1-2 is the second inch, etc. The part at the right end of the first segment marked 9-10 is the 10th and last inch of the first 10-inch segment.

It should be easy to see with this illustration that the part marked 9-10 is still read or counted with the first 10-inch segment, and not with the next 10 inches that start with the 10-11 part.

* * *

TO visualize the millenniums using this illustration, change the numbers to hundreds: 1 would be 100, 2 is 200, etc., and 10 is 1000. The next segment of the line would be marked 1001 up to 2000 – which could correspond to the years of the second millennium, the subject of the discussion.

In the same way that 1000 is the last year of the first millenium, 2000 (or Dec. 31, 1999 to Dec. 31, 2000) is the last year of the second millennium. Year 2000 is a part of the second millennium. It cannot be part of or be the start of the third millennium.

Whew!! Will somebody please clear the confusion.

* * *

ON dual citizenship, another subject that has drawn heavy readers’ mail, we just received information from Immigration Commissioner Rufus B. Rodriguez updating us on the thinking and policies of the bureau.

First, we learned from him that the document that we called a Certificate of Recognition (usually secured by Filipinos who concurrently hold another citizenship and want to be sure they are indeed Philippine citizens) is officially called an Order of Recognition.

While the order is processed by the immigration bureau at the instance of an applicant, since 1996 it has needed affirmation by the Secretary of Justice. We listed the requirements for applicants and the fees to be paid in a previous Postscript.

For purposes of the 1987 Constitution, an Order of Recognition retroacts to the person’s date of birth. While the order has no expiry date, it can be withdrawn by the immigration commissioner upon finding of fraud or misrepresentation by the applicant, his parents or legal guardian in obtaining the order.

* * *

DEPARTING Filipinos who carry foreign passports in addition to their Philippine passport are subject to simplified requirements discussed in a previous Postscript. Among other things, departing Filipinos will no longer be required to produce “show money” and affidavits of support to prove that they can afford to travel and that they will not become a public charge.

Filipinos departing with the use of foreign passports but who want to avail themselves of privileges reserved for Filipinos must also present an Order of Recognition. A clear photocopy of the Order of Recognition should be honored by immigration officers in the departure area, Rodriguez said.

The commissioner is considering proposals to allow hassle-free departure for Filipinos who carry both Philippine and American passports. A decision will be announced shortly.

* * *

RODRIGUEZ said that a Filipino who acquires American citizenship through naturalization loses his Philippine citizenship because such a US process amounts to his renunciation of his native citizenship.

A Filipino who has lost his citizenship through naturalization in another country is under obligation to inform the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of his loss of Philippine citizenship. It would be misrepresentation for him to continue presenting himself as a Filipino.

If a Filipino who has been naturalized as an American wants to reacquire his Philippine citizenship, Rodriguez said that the applicant will be required to first renounce his US citizenship. He cannot be a dual citizen in this situation.

But the government recognizes situations where Filipinos may have dual citizenship. Philippine law cannot control international law, so if a Filipino is also claimed by another state as its citizen, there is nothing the Philippine government can do about it.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 23, 1999)

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