Press Release
February 24, 2021


The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Senator Richard J. Gordon, approved on Wednesday the bills that seek to grant Philippine citizenship to athletes Bienvenido Morejon Marañon and Kakou Ange Franck Williams Kouame.

"The process of naturalization, which is a national interest, values the opportunity to become more closely knit to the fabric of Philippine society. We are excited for them to be naturalized because they have proven that they really want to be Filipinos, but they also have to be exemplary, to be an inspiration to the Filipinos," said Gordon.

Bienvenido, who came to the Philippines on May 2015, played for Ceres Negros Football Club, which is one of the teams in the Philippines Football League (PFL). He was named top scorer and awarded as best import player in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Kouame, on the other hand, is a student-athlete from the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and has been dominating the basketball scene. He was the Rookie of the Year in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 81.

During the hearing, Gordon stressed that naturalization is a privilege and not a right. The applicant, he said, must have moral values and should be free from any legal impediment.

"Maging Pilipino sa isip, salita at gawa; real exemplars of what Filipinos want to be: winners, gentlemen, proud of the country they have chosen. More than their skills in sports, Kouame and Marañon would be excellent and upright citizens as they already wholeheartedly embraced our country's culture and its people that the Philippines has become their home," said Gordon.

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