Hundreds finally out of legal limbo in groundbreaking pilot between Indonesia, the Philippines

After years of living in legal limbo, a first group of over 660 people in Southern Philippines had their citizenship confirmed.

The first of over 600 to receive the confirmation of their Indonesian citizenship are Mr. Kampiong Monoke and daughter Rachelle Joy Monoke (center). From left to right: Atty. Melvin Suarez from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Meck Magno from UNHCR, Dinah Jean Cornejo from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Atty. Alex Bacarro from DOJ, Rachelle Monoke, Kampiong Monoke, Agus Majid, Vice-Consul at Indonesian Consulate in Davao, Pedrito Lopez, Jr. of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Dennis Matteo of BI, Arcee Pila of PASALI Philippines. (© UNHCR Philippines)


MANILA, Philippines – After years of living in legal limbo, a first group of over 660 people in the southern Philippines had their citizenship confirmed – an important step in the global campaign to end statelessness by 2024.

The event took place on Monday, 14 March, at the Municipal Hall of Glan, Sarangani as the governments of the Philippines and Indonesia, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), continue efforts to assist people who are at risk of being stateless. The mission was spearheaded by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the Philippine government and the Indonesian Consulate for the Indonesian government.  Representatives from the Bureau of Immigration and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) also took part in the process. 

Stateless people and those at risk of statelessness are sometimes not registered in either country and have lost their connection with their former countries of origin. Some live in remote areas or have limited access to information about their rights and nationality procedures. To address this issue, a confirmation and registration of persons of Indonesian descent (PIDs) was launched in 2014.  The exercise registered more than 8,745 PIDs in seven provinces and two cities which include Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, General Santos City and Davao City.

Infographic - PIDS


The event saw the first group of about 660 PIDs getting their citizenship confirmed by either Indonesia or the Philippines and receiving the appropriate identity documents.

UNHCR commends the Government of the Philippines for ongoing efforts to consider acceding to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which establishes an international framework to ensure the right of every person to a nationality by establishing safeguards to prevent statelessness at birth and later in life. Without nationality, they cannot enjoy their human rights, including the right to freedom of movement, to formal education, to access social services and to own property. They often have poor access to basic services like affordable healthcare and higher education.  This landmark exercise marks an important step in the global #IBelong campaign to end statelessness by 2024.


For more information, please contact:
Gina Maramag, UNHCR
External Relations Associate
[email protected]
+63917 597 9667