Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RP no more: The Philippines is now PH or PHL

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila today formally announced that it would start using PH or PHL as the official acronyms to refer to the Republic of the Philippines.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo issued an order last October 20 directing all Philippine embassies, consulates and other foreign posts to use PH or PHL to refer to the Philippines to avoid ambiguity and confusion and in accordance with the country's membership in the International Organization of Standardization.

Prior to this, the Philippines, including the DFA, used RP as the country's initials.

In a statement, the DFA explained that:

The long standing usage of the initials "RP" is not in accordance with ISO codes, leading to ambiguous initials that can also refer to other countries, the DFA noted.

The ISO developed the ISO3166-1 codes, assigning two letter (alpha-2) and three letter (alpha-3) code to member countries.

ISO 3166-1 is part of the ISO 3166 standard adopted by the ISO, and defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. The codes for the Philippines are PH and PHL, respectively.

These codes are used in the Philippines and abroad in airline ticketing, passport issuances, currencies, and internationally-traded shares of stocks, among others.

The DFA Office of Consular Affairs has adopted and reflects the ISO three-letter codes in the data pages of the Philippine electronic passport.

President Benigno Aquino III, who is currently in Vietnam for the leaders' summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has yet to issue a proclamation or executive order directing all other agencies to also start using PH and PHL.

The ISO two-letter codes are also used by countries for their country-code top-level domains. In the case of the Philippines, it is .PH.

The ISO lists many other implementations and benefits of using the standard - including passports, currency transactions, and even FedEx shipments.

(Written by Tonyo Cruz for the Asian Correspondent

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