The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Senator Dick Gordon, recently approved the bills that seek to grant Philippine citizenship to athletes Bienvenido Morejon Marañon and Kakou Ange Franck Williams Kouame.
“The process of naturalization, which is a national interest, values the opportunity to become more closely knit to the fabric of Philippine society. We are excited for them to be naturalized because they have proven that they really want to be Filipinos, but they also have to be exemplary, to be an inspiration to the Filipinos,” Gordon said.
Marañon, who came to the Philippines on May 2015 from Spain, played for Ceres Negros Football Club, one of the teams in the Philippines Football League (PFL).
He was named top scorer and awarded as best import player in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
From the Ivory Coast, Kouame played college basketball with the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and has since been dominating the basketball scene.
He was the Rookie of the Year in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 81.
“Naturalization is a privilege and not a right.”
During the hearing, the veteran legislator stressed that naturalization is a privilege and not a right.
The applicant, the seasoned lawmaker said, must have moral values and should be free from any legal impediment.
“They already wholeheartedly embraced our country’s culture and its people that the Philippines has become their home.”
“Maging Pilipino sa isip, salita at gawa; real exemplars of what Filipinos want to be: winners, gentlemen, proud of the country they have chosen. More than their skills in sports, Kouame and Marañon would be excellent and upright citizens as they already wholeheartedly embraced our country’s culture and its people that the Philippines has become their home,” the senator concluded.