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DFA junks 'RP' for 'PH' or 'PHL'

MANILA, Philippines – The abbreviated official reference to the Philippines will no longer be “RP” but “PH” or “PHL” in accordance with the accepted code of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the abbreviation PH or PHL is more widely known in the international community than RP, which stands for Republic of the Philippines. The DFA said there would be less ambiguity and confusion if the abbreviation favored by the ISO is adopted.

In Department Order 16-10 dated Oct. 20, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo directed the DFA’s 67 embassies, 23 consulates general and four permanent missions to drop RP in favor of PH or PHL.

The ISO developed the ISO3166-1 codes for countries, territories, and special areas.

The new codes are already being used in airline ticketing, passport issuances, currencies, and internationally traded shares of stocks, among others.

The ISO code is also used in the pages of the Philippine electronic passport.

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For businesses, the use of globally accepted codes allows suppliers to develop and offer products and services that meet international specifications.

The ISO is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded in 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards.

The Philippines is represented in the organization by the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry.

It was former ambassador Juan Ona and the DFA Tattlers Group, a group of retired and active Philippine ambassadors, which had moved for the adoption of the new code for the Philippines. 

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