PH citizenship of Marañon, Kouame secures Senate nod
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday approved two bills seeking to grant Filipino citizenship to Spanish football striker Bienvenido Marañon and Ivorian basketball player Angelo Kouame.
Voting 23-0, the chamber approved House Bill No. 8631, which seeks Marañon’s naturalization.
The same vote was cast on House Bill No. 8632 granting Filipino citizenship to Kouame.
Kouame, who hails from West Africa’s Ivory Coast, is poised to join the Philippines in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Games later in the year.
Naturalization is one of the steps required for the athletes to compete under the Philippine flag.
The country got a ticket to the OQT as the next highest-ranking team in the Asia-Oceania zone after New Zealand pulled out of the tournament.
“Kouame is primed to make a significant contribution to Philippine basketball. He is ready to play for the national team. More importantly, he is more than willing to represent our country,” Senator Sonny Angara said.
“Ange is still very young and his game is still developing. This early we have already seen how good he is playing in the UAAP. He will only improve with his continued training at the hands of our very capable coaching staff and trainers in Gilas Pilipinas,” he added.
Marañon, meanwhile, is being considered to play with the Philippine Azkals.
Prior to the approval of the bills, the Senate adopted last week an amendment that would make the measures effective “immediately upon” its publication in the Official Gazette or In a newspaper of general circulation after they have been enacted into law.
Before this amendment, the bills stated that the measures would only be effective 15 days after the publication requirement has been complied with.
Once granted Filipino citizenship, Kouame and Marañon are required to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before an officer duly authorized to administer the same, according to the bills.
The Oath of Allegiance shall be registered with the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Upon registration of the Oath of Allegiance, the BI shall Issue a Certificate of Naturalization to Kouame and Marañon.