Looks like the road to Filipino citizenship for Ceres-Negros foreign booters Bienvenido Maranon and Robert Lopez Mendy are now within a matter of time, thanks to the two naturalization bills seeking Filipino citizenships for Maranon and Mendy was filed last March 3rd in the Philippine Senate.
Philippine Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate bill 1390 for Mendy naturalization while Senate bill 1391 was filed for Maranon naturalization. If both bills are approved and signed into law, Maranon and Mendy are eligible to play for the Philippine Azkals.
“He dreams of building a family in this country, and raising his children surrounded by the kindness, humility, and hospitality that Filipinos are known for,” said Zubiri on his explanatory note on Maranon’s naturalization bill, quoted in an article of the Manila Bulletin.
“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 in the world of football,” Zubiri added on his explanatory note for Maranon naturalization bill.
Maranon, a Spaniard arrived in the Philippine professional football scene in joining Ceres-Negros back in 2015. During his almost five-year stint with the Bacolod-based club, he won the United Football League (UFL) Division 1 title and three Philippines Football League (PFL) crowns.
He is also part of Ceres-Negros squad that won the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara and numerous campaigns of the club in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup and Champions League playoffs.
In Ceres-Negro’s previous match in the 2020 AFC Cup Group Stage against Bali United last March 11th, Maranon now holds the most goals scored in AFC Cup with 35 goals after scoring two goals in their 4-0 win against the Indonesian club.
“I know it’s a long process, but if I could have a Filipino passport tomorrow, I would love to play for the Azkals,” said Maranon via Inquirer.net on the naturalization bill filed in the Philippine Senate and the chance to play for the Azkals.
“I feel better than ever. Physically, I think I’m in my best shape and I feel I still have many good years ahead of me. I want to help Philippine football because it has also helped me in improving my life,” Maranon added.
Mendy, a Senegalese first came to the Philippines to play for Forza FC in 2009 and made his professional debut with the same club in the UFL in 2012. He later played for Green Archers United in 2013 and joined Kaya Iloilo in 2016, in which he was part of the squad that won the Copa Paulino Alcantara title in 2018.
He briefly left the Philippine professional football scene to play for Malaysian club UiTM FC but later joined Ceres-Negros FC in the middle of 2019 to help the Bacolod-based club to win the PFL and Copa Paulino Alcantara titles.
He was also part of Ceres-Negros and Kaya Iloilo campaigns in the AFC Cup.
“Mr. Mendy envisions the Philippines that is known not only in the worlds of basketball and boxing,” Zubiri said in his explanatory note on Mendy’s naturalization bill, quoted in the same article of the Manila Bulletin.
“It is his desire to play an integral part in developing football in the country and helping mold the youth to become competitive and at the same time teach them to uphold the ideals of sportsmanship and fair play,’’ Zubiri added on his explanatory note on Mendy naturalization bill.