The long wait is over as United City FC (UCFC) striker Bienvenido Marañon officially received his Filipino citizenship following Malacanang’s approval of his naturalization process.
President Rodrigo Duterte finally signed Republic Act 11570 on Wednesday, putting an end to the 34-year old booter’s quest for Philippine citizenship.
With that, Marañon has opened a new era in Philippine football as becomes the first-ever naturalized player of the Philippine Azkals.
“Ako ay Pilipino,” Marañon posted on his social media account shortly after being granted with Filipino citizenship.
Born in the province of Andaluzia in Spain, Marañon started playing in the Philippines in 2015 for the Ceres Negros FC, which was later renamed United City FC.
There, he formed a lethal duo with Azkals skipper and UCFC midfielder Stephan Schrock and won four titles in the Philippines Football League.
His elite offensive firepower was further bolstered in the regional stage when he anchored the Busmen to their AFC Cup Zonal Championship title in 2017, the highest that any professional Filipino club has ever achieved.
On top of that, he was also hailed as the AFC Cup’s all-time top scorer, bagging 35 goals in the prestigious tourney.
So far, Marañon and UCFC are currently competing in the group stage of the prestigious AFC Champions League in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Marañon is set to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and complete the documentation process before he can finally secure a passport and certificate of naturalization.