Press Release
October 9, 2023

Naturalized Filipino athletes must enjoy same rights and privileges as natural-born players - Tolentino

MANILA -- Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino said on Monday that naturalized Filipino athletes should enjoy the same rights as natural-born players specifically employment.

Tolentino clarified such rights and privileges with Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Brigido Dulay during the agency's 2024 budget briefing at the Senate.

"Kapag ikaw ay passport holder, ikaw ay naturalized, do you enjoy the same rights as the ordinary Filipino who is also a passport holder? Pareho lang ba, kahit iba ang kulay mo?" Sen. Tol asked.

Dulay responded: "The naturalized Filipino enjoys the same privileges as a natural-born Filipino. So I suppose, they should be treated the same."

Referencing several import players at Philippine basketball competitions like Justin Brownlee, Ange Kouame, and Marcus Douthit, the Senator stressed that they should be allowed to be play as locals in the country.

Dulay clarified that while naturalized players can be employed in the Philippines, it is still the discretion of the private organizations and enterprises to craft contract terms.

The solon further remarked that there should be "equal protection of the laws."

Tolentino administered the oathtaking of Gilas Pilipinas hero Brownlee in allegiance to the Philippines last January and will lead the naturalization hearings of other players as Chairman of the Senate Justice and Human Rights panel.

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