MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has approved on second reading a bill that aims to grant Filipino citizenship to Spanish football striker Bienvenido Marañon.
Naturalization is a step required for the athletes to compete under the Philippine flag.
If granted Filipino citizenship, Marañon is being considered to play with the Philippine Azkals.
“I am very happy that we have a very, very good player in the Azkals football team. A chance to really shine in the international competition circuit,” said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri following the measure’s second reading approval.
Zubiri was the principal author of the bill calling for Marañon’s naturalization.
According to the senator, Marañon wants to inspire and encourage the Filipino youth to play football that saved the player from drugs, alcohol, and other bad habits. He added that Marañon dreams of building a family in the Philippines, and raise his children surrounded by the kindness, humility, and hospitality that Filipinos are known for.
Aside from Marañon, the Senate is also deliberating on a proposed measure to grant Filipino citizenship to Ivorian basketball player Angelo Kouame.
Kouame was included in the 16-man lineup of Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain, but was not able to suit up due to his pending naturalization. The center from Ateneo was named UAAP Rookie of the Year in 2018.
The Senate is eyeing to approve Kouame’s naturalization bill on second reading on Tuesday pending some amendments.
The third reading approval of both naturalization bills is expected next week.
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