The House justice committee on Wednesday, November 16 approved on first reading House Bill 825 otherwise known as the naturalization bill of Justin Brownlee.
The 6-foot-6 resident import of Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel attended the proceedings wearing a Barong Tagalog to formalize the start of the process to become one of the naturalized players of Gilas Pilipinas.
“It just seems it would be great to be part of the country and just keep helping out to be part of the national team. Hopefully I can just be an inspiration to people and kids and help better the basketball here and to just do whatever I can to be a good citizen,” said Brownlee.
Cavite 4th District Rep. Pidi Barzaga moved for the approval after the Foreign Affairs and Justice departments, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Immigration did not object to his naturalization.
The bill, which was authored by Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman partylist Rep. Mikee Romero, will now be elevated to the rules committee for a 2nd reading, before being voted upon by the plenary for its 3rd and final reading.
HB 825 will then be transmitted to the Senate where the same process will be repeated. It will become a law once signed by the President.
The 5-time PBA champion reinforcement will then take the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and will be issued a Certificate of Naturalization.
He will now be eligible to apply for a Philippine passport and his papers will be submitted to FIBA.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has been looking to add Brownlee to the national team starting the 6th and final window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
“We hope that his [naturalization] be approved on time. If he’s available there will be more options on who is worthy for the sixth window in February,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.
Gilas is set to take on Lebanon on the 24th, and then Jordan on the 27th at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.