Press Release
March 16, 2021


The Senate on Monday passed, on third and final reading, two proposed measures granting citizenship to Spanish footballer Bienvenido Morejon Maranon and Ivorian cager Kakou Ange Franck Williams Kouame.

Senator Richard J. Gordon sponsored Committee Report Nos. 188 and 189, recommending the passage of House Bills granting citizenship to Maranon and Kouame, respectively, and allowing them to play in international leagues under the Philippine flag. There were 23 votes, no negative votes and no abstentions for both measures.

Maranon, who has been playing football in the Philippines for the past five years, has come to love the country and its people. He engages in community work, collaborating with local football clubs in Sagay and Bacolod in Negros Occidental, Boracay in Aklan, as well as in Manila.

The footballer also wants to inspire and encourage the Filipino youth to play the sport that saved him from drugs, alcohol and other bad habits. 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 of the world in football.

On the other hand, Kouame, who moved to the Philippines to study under a student-athlete scholarship with the Ateneo de Manila University has become one of the drivers that led the Blue Eagles into a 16-0 three-peat title conquest in the UAAP Season 82. He was also the Rookie of the Year in Season 81.

Aside from his advancing the Philippine national team in the basketball court, Kouame, who is expected to join the players of Gilas Pilipinas, could also bring great improvement in the country's chances in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers through his more than a decade of training in football during his childhood in the Ivory Coast.

"More than their skills in their field, they have proven that they really want to be Filipinos. They wholeheartedly embraced our country's culture and its people that the Philippines had become their home. However, they also have to be exemplary, to be an inspiration to the Filipinos," Gordon, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said.

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