Photo Release

December 6, 2022

Tolentino hits discrimination of naturalized athletes: Sen. Francis “Tol” Tolentino answers clarificatory questions from his colleagues regarding House Bill No. 6224 (taking into consideration Senate Bill Nos. 1336, 1516 and 1519) particularly the grant of Philippine citizenship to basketball athlete Justin Donta Brownlee. At the plenary session, Monday, December 5, 2022, Tolentino was asked if the 34-year-old Brownlee, if granted a Filipino citizenship, will also play in All-Filipino leagues and will be considered a naturalized Filipino athlete. Tolentino said he is disappointed by the lack of opportunities and apparent discrimination against naturalized Filipino athletes who are not being allowed to play by local basketball associations and administrators in All-Filipino leagues who still consider them foreigners. He compared this issue to naturalized athletes playing at the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where 136 athletes are not only playing for countries who naturalized them, but are also encouraged to play in their local leagues. "It is puzzling. This is revealing, Mr. President. Why are we not allowing, why are we discriminating against naturalized athletes coming from other countries? I do not know the real reason," Tolentino lamented. (Bibo Nueva Espana/Senate PRIB)