Leaders of the House of Representatives are seeking the passage of a bill granting Filipino citizenship to Bienvenido Marañón Morejón, one of the country’s leading football players.
TINGOG Sinirangan partylist Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez and House Majority Leader, Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez and Manila 1st District Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez separately filed measures seeking to grant Marañon all the rights and privileges as well as the duties and obligations of a Filipino under the Constitution.
“In the five years that he has been playing football in the Philippines, Bienvenido Marañón Morejón has come to love the country and its people. He engages himself in community work, collaborating with local football clubs in Sagay and Bacolod in Negros Occidental, Boracay in Aklan and in Metro Manila. He wants to inspire and encourage the Filipino youth to play the sport that saved him from drugs, alcohol and other bad habits,” the Romualdez couple said in the explanatory note of their House Bill No. 7284.
Marañón was born on May 15, 1986, and started playing football as a young boy in the streets of Cadiz, Spain, they said.
His special talent in the sport became apparent early in his life, earning his first paycheck as a professional football player at the young age of 16, they said.
“He came to the Philippines on May 17, 2015, to play for Ceres Negros Football Club (FC) in the Philippine Football League (PFL) where he was named the top scorer of the league in 2017 and 2019, and the best import player in 2017, 2018, and 2019,” the Romualdezes cited.
They said Marañón was also the top scorer of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in 2019, an annual continental club football competition, organized by the AFC and participated in by 36 teams from all across Asia.
“He dreams of building a family in this country and raising his children surrounded by the kindness, humility, and hospitality that Filipinos are known for. He also aspires to represent the Philippines as part of the national team vying in international competitions, and make the country known as one of the top teams in the world of football,” they said.
In filing House Bill No. 7427, Lopez, chairperson of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, cited that in Marañon’s five-year football career in the country, he has shown exceptional skills complemented by commendable work ethics, serving as one of the most prolific scorers in Southeast Asia.
He said currently, Marañón is the leading goal scorer of the Philippine Football League and the all-time top scorer in the AFC Cup after scoring his 35th goal in Ceres-Negros’s 4-0 win against Bali United on March 11, 2020.
Marañón is credited as the catalyst for the Philippines’ growing reputation as a football powerhouse in Southeast Asia, he noted.
“If granted the opportunity to play for the Philippines, Marañón will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset to the national football team, the Azkals, and bring pride and honor to our country. This will also be an opportunity on the part of Congress to contribute to the Philippines’ success in the global football arena,” Lopez said.
The bills provide that upon taking the Oath of Allegiance before a duly authorized officer and his registration with the Bureau of Immigration, Marañón shall enter upon full enjoyment of his Philippine citizenship.
Upon registration of the Oath of Allegiance, the BI shall issue Marañón his Certificate of Naturalization.