Poe urges Filipinos in U.S. to apply for dual citizenship

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(file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe in a video published on Friday (April 8) called on the four million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) living and working in the United States to apply for dual citizenship, and reap "substantial" benefits in return.

In a message released during the start of the overseas voting, Poe said it is high time for OFWs to exercise their "birth right" as dual citizens.

"I appeal to all of you to exercise your birth right and become dual citizens because the Philippines is still your home," said Poe.

"The advantages, I assure you, are substantial, including regaining the right to vote and to own property in the Philippines."

Poe also encouraged OFWs to visit the Philippines because this is still "the best place to be."

"Your voice, your votes from far away America must be heard in our shores and resonate in the changes that are about to happen," the lawmaker said.

Poe flew to the US in 1991 after getting married to husband Neil Llamanzares in the Philippines. Llamanzares is a dual citizen of the US and the Philippines since birth.

In 2001, Poe became a naturalized citizen of the US after being petitioned by her husband. Poe took an oath of allegiance to the US, renouncing her Philippine citizenship.

Also read: Binay hits Poe on citizenship

In 2006, two years after the death of her father, Fernando Poe Jr., Poe took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines to regain her natural-born status. In the same year, Poe filed for dual citizenship.

Related: Poe challenges critics over U.S. passport issue

On October 20, 2010, Poe signed an “Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States of America and Renunciation of American Citizenship.” A day after, she took an oath as chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

"I am proud to have been one of you, who have lived away from the country, but who continues to love the Philippines," Poe said.

A number of disqualification cases, questioning her residency and citizenship, have been filed against Poe, as she vied for the country's top post.

On March 8, the Supreme Court junked the petitions, saying that Poe is eligible to run for the national elections.

Also read: Grace Poe disqualification case: How the Supreme Court justices voted

A month later, the high tribunal upheld its decision to allow Poe to run for president amid motions for reconsideration filed by the petitioners.

Also read: It’s final: SC allows Grace Poe to run for president

Also read: Poe thanks SC for upholding decision; detractors say fight isn’t over

CNN Philippines’ David Santos contributed to this report.