THE Embassy of Spain said that Filipinos living in Spain are very much respected in its country.
Embassy of Spain Education Advisor Fernando Zapico said Filipinos who are based in Spain have contributed to their country’s economy, education and culture.
“Despite the language problem, Filipinos are one of the best assimilated communities in Spain. We have high regard for them,” Zapico said.
He added: “There are 300 years of shared past between our countries. Jose Rizal has a monument in Spain. Spanish influence in food, religion and language can be seen in the Philippines.”
Zapico estimates that there are now more than 150,000 Filipinos living in Spain, including 40,000 who have found employment in their country.
Zapico said that Filipinos working in their country are in the health and medical industry, with most of them nurses and doctors. He added that there are also Filipino teachers working in Spain.
He said it would not come as a surprise if in the future, Filipinos will get themselves involved in Spanish politics.
Zapico said that Filipinos legally working in Spain have acquired dual nationality. He added that it started in the 1990s with an estimated 2,000 Filipinos acquiring Spanish citizenship annually.
Being a former colony of Spain, Filipino can apply for dual citizenship within two years residence.
Those who are applying must swear allegiance to the King of Spain. They should also know how to speak the language and have a good knowledge of the geography, social issues and its constitution.
This is the same privilege being enjoyed by nationals from Latin American countries, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal.
Once Filipinos get a residence permit, one of the benefits they receive is access to Spain’s universal health-care system, which allows them to have free medical services, from consultation to surgeries.
Every year, during the month of June, the country celebrates Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day as mandated under Republic Act 9187.
Currently, there is also a renewed push for the promotion of the Spanish language and its culture in the country’s educational institutions.