Speaker Martin Romualdez has congratulated Barangay Ginebra resident import Justin Donta Brownlee following the granting of the latter’s Filipino citizenship. “You are now a Filipino. We hope that you will be a good citizen and an excellent example for our people, especially the youth,” Romualdez said in a statement Friday, Jan. 13.
The Leyte 1st district congressman added:
“Lead the Philippine Gilas team to victory in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. ”Brownlee, 34, originally from Georgia in the United States (US), received his Philippine citizenship with the signing by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of Republic Act (RA) No. 11937.The decorated Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) import had expressed his desire to suit up for the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team, particularly in the FIBA World Cup.The President signed the law less than two months after the House of Representatives approved House Bill (HB) No.6224 on third and final reading.
In the Senate, Brownlee's dream was met with vigorous support from Sen. Francis "Tol" Tolentino, chairman of the House committee on justice and human rights and the Blue Ribbon Committee.The newly naturalized Filipino citizens even took his Oath of Allegiance before Senator Tol in the Senate, before several adoring Senate media persons.
Following this oath, Brownlee would just need to secure a certificate of naturalization from the Bureau of Immigration in order to fully enjoy his rights as a Filipino citizen.
Tolentino, in his speech during the third and final reading of the bill in the Senate, praised Brownlee saying:
"Malugod ko pong binabati ngayon si Ginoong Justin Donta Brownlee sa panibagong yugto ng kaniyang buhay bilang isang ganap na Pilipino. Nawa'y iyong isabuhay ang pagka-Pilipino sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa. Mabuhay ka Justin!"
Filipino Brownlee would now be eligible to join the Philippine's national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, and begin the process of qualifying for international events under the nation's banner, particularly the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February at the Philippine Arena.
Brownlee would also be expected to join the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia this coming May.