Press Release
December 1, 2021

Senate approves Lizzie Zobel De Ayala's PH citizenship

Senators on Wednesday, December 1, 2022 approved on third and final reading a bill granting Philippine citizenship to Elizabeth "Lizzie" Eder Zobel de Ayala who has dedicated her life to various socio-civic activities in the country and championing the causes on literacy, education, and family planning, among others.

All 21 senators, physically and virtually present, gave their thumbs up to House Bill No. (HBN) 9376 granting Philippine citizenship to Lizzie, a native of Cali, Colombia, who married Filipino businessman Augusto Zobel de Ayala in June 1987.

A counterpart Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2221 was filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, shepherded the passage of the measure.

Gordon, during plenary deliberations on Lizzie's citizenship, said she has been in the country for 34 years and has done a lot of things in the country by training teachers in Science and in education and in providing digital tools to create more effective and engaging Science teachers.

"She acts already like a Filipino, not conscious of her trappings or titles here in the Philippines or the prominence of the provenance of her family," Gordon said.

Drilon, in his co-sponsorship speech, noted that the Senate has granted Filipino citizenships to different personalities in the past, but few were as remarkable as "Lizzie," who has dedicated her life to various socio-civic activities in the Philippines and championing the causes on literacy, education and family planning, among others.

"I have filed SBN 2221 because of my great conviction that Elizabeth "Lizzie" Eder Zobel de Ayala deserves all the rights, privileges and prerogatives that come for being a Filipino," Drilon said.

Drilon explained in his bill that Zobel de Ayala has made the Philippines her home since 1987. Her four children: Marian, Jaime Alfonso, Eugenia, and Mercedes and her two grandchildren, Vidal Augusto Zobel de Ayala Aboitiz and Luisa Aboitiz Zobel de Ayala, are all Filipino citizens, he said.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri said Zobel de Ayala supported a lot of non-government organizations and advocacies. "Behind a successful man is an even more successful woman. She has been part of bringing the country back to the forefront of protecting children, education and so many more advocacies."

"This is indeed one of the very happy bills that we in the Senate are blessed to hear and eventually pass into law. Welcome to the status that is decades overdue because you have been a Filipino at heart for a very, very long time," Sen. Risa Hontiveros said.

Lizzie joined the Founding Board of Museo Pambata in 1994, which she served until 2001. In 1999, she co-founded the Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, the objective of which was to develop literacy programs that addressed the declining functional literacy rates in public school students in the Philippines.

Zobel de Ayala also served on the board of the National Museum of the Philippines from the time of her appointment by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2001 to 2010.

She was a founding Board Member of the Friendly Care Foundation and the Forum for Family Planning and Development. Since 1998, Lizzie worked in support of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines which was enacted into law in December of 2012. She is also a Member of the Philippine Center for Population and Development.

More recently, Lizzie co-founded and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Teach for the Philippines, a country partner of Teach for All.

In partnership with the Department of Education, Teach for the Philippines is a nationwide non-profit organization that works to ensure that all Filipino children have equal access to quality education.

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