Marañon inching closer to become naturalized Filipino

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Former Negros-Ceres Football Club topscorer Bienvenido Morejon Marañon is inching closer to his bid to become a naturalized Filipino citizen following the approval on third and final reading by the House of Representatives of House Bill 8631 late Tuesday night, Feb. 16.

The lower chamber’s approval of HB 8631, which was defended by House Justice Committee chairman, Rep. Vicente Veloso III during the plenary, was confirmed by Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, one of the original authors of the Spanish football ace’s bid for Filipino citizenship.

At left, Bienve Marañon with former Ceres-Negros teammates Arnie Pasinabo and Manny Ott. | Stephen Tan Photo

“The concurrence of the House to grant Marañon’s naturalization is a recognition of his invaluable contributions to Philippine football since he donned the national colors in multiple international outings during the last five years,” Gasataya, who is also vice chair of the House  Appropriations Committee, said.

HB 8631, which was presented by Veloso before the plenary, is the substitute bill of Gasataya’s HB 8144, Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez’s HB 7427 and Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s HB 7284.

Marañon, who now plays for the Manila-based United City FC after the Negros-Ceres FC folded up, is the most prolific player, scoring-wise, in inter-club championships in Southeast Asia.

Gasataya also noted that  Marañon is the leading scorer of the Philippine Football League and the all-time top scorer in the Asian Football Confederation Cup after registering his 35th goal in the Negros-Ceres’ 4-0 triumph versus the Bali United of Indonesia on March 11, 2020.

The Spanish striker is also credited as the catalyst for the Philippine football movement’s reputation as a powerhouse team in the region.

Also co-authoring the bill together with 16 other congressmen, were Ilongga Rep. Sharon Garin and Negros Occidental Second District Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva, who cited that Marañon, when he was still based in Negros Occidental, had outreach programs for the youth of Sagay and Bacolod cities.

Marañon is currently backed in his town in Cadiz, Spain.

Once naturalized as a Filipino, Marañon will be given all the rights, privileges and prerogatives, as well as the duties and obligations as a citizen, the bill said.

HB 8631 also provides that upon taking oath of allegiance to the Republic before an officer duly authorized for the pursue and registration of the same with the Bureau of Immigration and the issuance to him of the Certificate of Naturalization, Marañon shall enter upon the full enjoyment of Philippine citizenship.

Following the approval of HB 8631, the same goes up to the Senate for concurrence, and shall be reconciled and finalized at the bicameral committee before it is submitted to the President for his signature.

The House also approved the application for naturalization of Ateneo cager Angelo Kouame. – NND