ADD veteran boxing referee Bruce McTavish to the list of foreigners who have fallen in love with the Philippines and have taken the ultimate step in pledging that desire.
McTavish, born in Auckland, New Zealand, is now a naturalized Filipino after the Senate finally approved his citizenship application, which he had submitted as early as 2010.
The Senate announced the decision in a press release on Monday, passing House Bill 7388, which Sen. Dick Gordon sponsored as chair of Senate committee on Justice and Human Rights, on third and final reading with no objection from all Senators in attendance.
The 77-year-old McTavish has been living in the Philippines, in Clark, Pampanga, since 1967, working as a field office manager in an American automobile manufacturer before becoming a referee, calling some fights of Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr..
Former Rep. Carmelo Lazatin of the First District of Pampanga first filed the bill endorsing McTavish’s application, before former congressman and current Philippine men’s basketball team coach Yeng Guiao re-endorsed the Kiwi native’s application. Both endorsements hit a snag.
The Senate finally recognized McTavish’s "exemplary contributions as a sportsman, entrepreneur, civic leader, devout Catholic and philanthropist."