Bienvenido Marañon is elated to have finally become a naturalized Filipino after months of waiting for the process to be completed.
The United City striker’s long wait came to an end after President Duterte signed Republic Act 11570 that made the Spanish-born Maranon a Filipino citizen.
“I’m the happiest guy in the world right now,” Marañon, who is currently in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for United City’s campaign in the AFC Champions League, said in a statement posted by the club on its social media accounts.
“To be Filipino citizen is a dream that I have since my second year in the country due the love and respect they show me along the way. I’m sure I will make them proud to have me one of them,” added Marañon.
He also tweeted “Ako ay Pilipino” shortly after the RA 11570 was published in the website of the Official Gazette on Wednesday, July 7.
Marañon’s naturalization bill got the nod by both the House of Representatives and Senate, who approved its version last March, but delays prompted a two-month wait before amendments could be concurred by the lower chamber.
The delay played a role in Maranon missing a chance to make his Philippine Azkals last month in the World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
The bill was transmitted to Malacanang last June 2, but it took the maximum 30 days before the Chief Executive affixed his signature.
Under the constitution, a bill becomes a law if the President signs it or lapses after 30 days.
The 35-year-old Marañon will have to undergo some process such as securing a Philippine passport and FIFA registration in order to be eligible for the national team in international tournaments while also being considered a local player in AFC club and domestic competitions.