Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports Christopher “Bong” Go lauded President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for signing into law Republic Act No. 11937 which grants Filipino citizenship to Ginebra import Justin Brownlee.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako kay Pangulong Marcos sa pagpirma ng batas na nagbibigay ng Filipino citizenship kay Justin Brownlee,” said Go.
“Naniniwala po ako na deserving siya ma-naturalize kasi naka-blend in na siya hindi lang sa basketball team natin kundi pati na rin sa kultura ng Pilipino. I am sure napamahal na siya sa mga Pilipino, and ang mga Pilipino ay napamahal na din sa kanya,” Go added.
The law shall take effect immediately after it is published in newspapers with wide circulation or in the Official Gazette.
“To Mr. Brownlee, nawa’y patuloy mong isapuso ang pagiging isang Pilipino. Mahalin mo ang Pilipinas at isapuso ang tungkulin ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino na magsilbi sa bayan at unahin ang interes ng Pilipinas,” he stressed.
The citizenship bill, co-sponsored by Go, was approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives last month, particularly so that Brownlee would be qualified to represent Gilas Pilipinas as a naturalized player. Go also co-authored the Senate version of the measure.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas hopes to have Brownlee make his debut with Gilas Pilipinas at the Asian qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in February.
With Brownlee on the Filipino side, Go said that this development can bolster the country’s chances in various international competitions including the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
“Sana ay pumasok tayo sa Final Eight at manalo. Suportahan natin ang ating koponan. Ang panalo ng ating national team(Gilas Pilipinas) ay panalo ng buong sambayanan,” said Go.
The country will co-host the competition with Japan and Indonesia, which will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena from August 25 to September 10 this year. The country will also host the final phase of the competition.
Brownlee came to the Philippines in 2016. He initially joined the Philippine Basketball Association competitions as a replacement import. He then showcased his talents which helped Barangay Ginebra claim its first PBA championship in eight years. Since then, he has assisted and led his team to achieve five PBA championships in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.
“Si Brownlee may pusong Pinoy at ‘never say die’ attitude. Ito po ang pinakaimportante. Alam kong naisapuso na niya ang ating mga tradisyon at kultura. Higit sa talento nya sa basketball, ipinapakita nya ang puso nya na lumaban para sa Pilipino at ang pagmamahal nya po sa ating