MANILA, Philippines -- United City FC striker Bienvenido Marañón on Wednesday took another step towards realizing his dream of representing the Philippines.
This, after the House of Representatives approved on the second reading a bill that seeks to grant Filipino citizenship to the Spanish-born footballer.
House Bill No. 8631 will have to hurdle the third and final reading before Marañón's citizenship bid is tackled by the Senate.
A counterpart bill, filed by Senator Migs Zubiri in March 2020, remains pending in the Senate.
The 34-year-old Marañón has starred for Ceres Negros -- now known as United City -- for several seasons now and helped them win four Philippines Football League (PFL) titles.
Marañón won the Golden Boot in the 2020 PFL season after scoring seven goals in five games.
In December, after the House Committee on Justice approved the bill seeking his citizenship, Marañón expressed his desire not only to play for the Philippine Azkals but also to set down his roots in the country.
"I would like to play with the Azkals, with the national team… I would like to help them to reach the World Cup and play the Asian Cup again, and try to win the Suzuki Cup," he said.
"I would like to let my family grow here in the Philippines, build my house, and try to help the kids to have a better life, and better future through football. I would like to build my academy for the kids, start from them and try to make them a better life," he added.