The DFA is now following the ISO initials PH and PHL instead of RP (Republic of the Philippines) to refer to the Philippines.
I haven't seen the initials RP being used in official documents anyway but it's good that we are now following international standards. My passport which was issued in 2007 used PHL not RP.
28 October 2010 - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and its Foreign Service Posts (FSPs) will use the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) initials PH or PHL when referring to the Philippines, and not anymore "RP", which is the acronym for the "Republic of the Philippines".
This is in line with the Philippine membership with the ISO, as well as to avoid the ambiguity and confusion with the use of the initials "RP".
In DFA Department Order No. 16-10 dated October 20, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo directed the DFA's 67 Embassies, 23 Consulates General and four Permanent Missions to use the initials PH or PHL.
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.
The ISO standards provide technological, economic and societal benefits. For businesses, the widespread adoption of International Standards means that suppliers can develop and offer products and services meeting specifications that have wide international acceptance in their sectors. For governments, International Standards provides the technological and scientific bases underpinning health, safety and environmental legislation.
The ISO is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 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.
Adoption of these initials was recently endorsed by former Ambassador Juan Ona and the DFA Tattlers Group, a group of retired and active Philippine envoys.