MANILA, Philippines -- United City FC's Bienvenido Marañón on Wednesday expressed his delight after he was granted Philippine citizenship by the House of Representatives.
The House on Tuesday unanimously approved House Bill 8631, which grants Philippine citizenship to the Spanish-born striker.
"I would like to say thanks to the House of Representatives, to the Committee of Justice, and to all the Congress, especially Manny Lopez who helped me a lot," said Marañón.
He also thanked Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta and Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami, "who made this possible."
The 34-year-old Marañón has been a star for United City -- the team formerly known as Ceres Negros FC -- for several seasons now, helping them win four championships in the Philippines Football League.
But the prolific striker has also long desired to play for the Philippine Azkals and is now one step closer to fulfilling that dream.
"I would like to be one of you, to be part of the Azkals, to help them a lot, as much as I can," said Marañón, who has scored 71 goals in 89 appearances for United City FC.
"Also, I would like to be part of Philippine football development. Mabuhay ang Filipinas, maraming salamat," he added.
After approving HB 8631 in the third and final reading, the House said that Marañón "will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset to the national team and bring pride and honor to our country, if granted an opportunity to play for the Philippines."
Marañón's bid for citizenship will now be transmitted to the Senate for its action.