Marañon, Kouame near naturalization

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

February 17, 2021, 10:29 am

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously approved separate bills filed for the naturalization of two foreign players who could bolster the Philippine men's football and basketball teams in the near future. 

The House approved the grant of Filipino citizenship to United City striker Bienve Marañon and Ateneo center Ange Kouame.

It first approved in its final reading House Bill (HB) 8631 seeking Marañon's naturalization, with all 206 congressmen tasked to vote, giving the thumbs up.

A little later, with 210 yes votes, HB 8632, which seeks the naturalization of Kouame, made the congressional cut.

The naturalization process now shifts to the Senate where separate bills were also filed.

Senator Migz Zubiri filed Senate Bill (SB) 1391 for Marañon's naturalization, while Senator Sonny Angara, also the chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), filed SB 1692 in Kouame's case.

However, Kouame's naturalization bid is being looked at, especially with recent events.

Kouame was ruled out of the second window in Manama, Bahrain last November because HB 8632 was still pending in Congress at that time.

The SBP was also keen on having an all-Filipino Gilas Men team for the third window supposedly happening this week.

However, due to the worsening coronavirus disease 2019 situation in Qatar, the country decided to cancel its hosting of a certain window bubble with the Philippines stepping in to take its place, although the window has been postponed as well.

With the final window likely to be pushed to next month, the Senate has a chance to approve Angara's bill just in time. (PNA)