Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Five awarded dual citizenship

SACRIFICEGiving more than 40 years of his life in service to Taiwanese makes Jerry Martinson worthy of dual citizenship, Household Registration director Wanda Chang said

By Chen Yu-fu and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Five people have been naturalized since the amended Nationality Act (國籍法) came into effect last year, allowing outstanding applicants to retain their original citizenship, the Ministry of the Interior said on Sunday.

They include Brendan O’Connell (甘惠忠), Andres Diaz de Rabago (賴甘霖), Yves Moal (劉一峰) and Barry Martinson (丁松青), who have become dual citizens in recognition of their contributions to Taiwanese society.

US-born O’Connell, 55, was the first applicant to be given Republic of China citizenship under the new rules. He was personally given his national identification card by Premier Lin Chuan (林全) at a news conference on Jan. 6.

Spanish-born Diaz de Rabago became a dual citizen on April 13 in recognition of his 48 years of service working with the church and the terminally ill.

Diaz de Rabago, who is 100 years old in October, has been awarded the Order of Brilliant Star by the Presidential Office.

French-born Moal, 76, has lived in Hualien for more than 50 years working with disabled people at the Anders Center, raising money by recycling.

He was given citizenship on Thursday.

“I hope people won’t call me a-douzai any more. I hope they will see me as an authentic Taiwanese,” Moal said.

A-douzai means “foreigner” in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese).

Martinson, who moved to Hsinchu’s Wufeng Township (五峰) 42 years ago, established the first nursery in the county’s mountainous region. He has been involved with Aboriginal communities for many years, selling paintings and giving the proceeds to the Choujian Youth Culture Center.

He received his national identification card on March 28.

Department of Household Registration Affairs director Wanda Chang (張琬宜) praised Martinson’s contributions, citing his 40 years working with the Kuangchi Program Service (光啟社) and his work with Aborigines, new immigrants and disabled people.

Chang said she hopes that Martinson’s brother, Jerry Martinson (丁松筠), will also be given dual citizenship.

“Taiwanese are thankful for all they have done, sacrificing their youth for the nation, staying for at least 40 years and not returning to their country of birth,” she said.

Giving one’s whole life to the nation is Taiwanese and makes the person worthy of being recognized as a citizen, she said.

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