By Zaldy De Layola
MANILA – Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Friday congratulated Barangay Ginebra’s resident import Justin Donta Brownlee after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. finally signed Republic Act 11937 conferring him the right to become a “bonafide citizen” of the Philippines.
House Bill 6224, which became the basis for the law, was authored principally by Romualdez, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr., sports patron and 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, among others.
“You are now a Filipino. We hope that you will be a good citizen and an excellent example for our people, especially the youth. Lead the Philippine Gilas team to victory in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers,” Romualdez told Brownlee.
Other authors of the bill are Manuel Jose M. Dalipe, Gus S. Tambunting, Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer, Roberto V. Puno, Margarita Ignacia B. Nograles, Jonathan Keith T. Flores, Ysabel Maria J. Zamora, Pablo John F. Garcia, Loreto B. Acharon, Ma. Rachel J. Arenas, Irwin C. Tieng, Ron P. Salo, Raul Angelo D. Bongalon, Dante S. Garcia, Olga T. Kho, Laarni Lavin Roque, Zaldy S. Villa, Divina Grace C. Yu, Jaime R. Fresnedi, Francisco Paolo V P. Ortega, Romeo M. Acop, Roy M. Loyola, Joseph Stephen S. Paduano, Jose Gay G. Padiernos, Raul C. Tupas, Dan S. Fernandez, Celso G. Regencia, Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano, Arnie B. Fuentebella, Paolo Z. Duterte and Jeffrey Soriano.
Brownlee, 34, originally from Georgia in the United States (US), has been very forthcoming to lawmakers about his plans of suiting up for Gilas.
The President signed the law less than two months after the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading HB 6224, which eventually, was also supported all along by the Senate.
Romualdez earlier commended Brownlee for his desire to become a Filipino citizen and “to contribute to the national team’s quest for glory in the FIBA World Cup.”
The American thanked the House leader, Romero and other House members for supporting the bill granting him citizenship.
The measure requires Brownlee to “take the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before an officer duly authorized to administer the same.”
The oath would be registered with the Bureau of Immigration. Upon registration, the bureau “shall issue a certificate of naturalization to Brownlee, who shall thereupon enter into the full enjoyment of Philippine citizenship.”
In authoring HB 6224, Romero said, “Throughout Mr. Brownlee’s decorated and illustrious career in the PBA, he was able to attain five PBA championships and two Best Import awards with the career averages of 28.9 points, 12 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game.”
Brownlee is also the first PBA import to record more than 400 three-pointers and ranks fifth in the all-time PBA imports scoring with 4,539 points as of April 2022.
Gilas Pilipinas has found “a truly dependable ally” in Brownlee in its quest to proudly represent the country in the February 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and in the FIBA World Cup 2023. (PNA)