Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2019 12:08:43 +0000
THE Senate on Monday granted citizenship to four foreigners, one of who is the son of the Chinese billionaire who donated a multimillion drug rehabilitation facility in Visayas and Mindanao.
The new Filipino citizens are Mohamad Wassim Nanaa, a Syrian; Margarita Melian Ortigas, a Philippine-born Spanish; Kitshon Soriano Kho, a Chinese businessman; and Hans Guenter Schoof, a German philanthropist.
The Senate approved on third and final reading House Bill 7206 bestowing Filipino citizenship to Nanaa, who was appointed Philippine honorary consul general to Aleppo in 2011.
Nanaa helped repatriate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the 2011 civil war in Syria at the onset of the so-called Arab Spring – a series of uprisings that toppled Tunisia’s and Egypt’s presidents.
Then president Benigno Aquino 3rd conferred the Order of Sikatuna (Grand Officer) on Nanaa in January 2014 for protecting more than 1,000 OFWs in Syria.
During his first appointment on April 24, 2008 as Philippine honorary consul in Aleppo with jurisdiction in Idlib, Latakia, Ar-Raqqah and Tartus, Nanaa showed exceptional service in promoting Philippine-Syrian bilateral economic and cultural cooperation and in protecting the rights and interest of OFWs in his jurisdiction.
Nanaa’s appointive position is without financial compensation. He graduated Bachelor of Laws in Beirut Arab University in Lebanon, is a successful import-export businessman in Syria.
Ortigas was born in Sta. Mesa, Manila to Maria Natividad Aboitiz Ugarte, a Filipina, and a Spanish father Leopoldo Melian y Zobel. In 1975, then Margarita Melian married Filipino lawyer Ignacio Ricardo Ortigas.
Kho, at 33, is the youngest among those granted Filipino citizenship. Though a Chinese citizen owing to his birthplace, his grandfather is a Filipino who is based in Isabela.
President Rodrigo Duterte even conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu to his father, Jose Kho, a Chinese billionaire who funded the construction of drug rehabilitation and treatment centers to help drug dependents in Visayas and Mindanao.
Schoof, a German businessman, was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in July 1947 and settled in the Philippines in 1986.
As a lover of history of Jose Rizal, Schoof financed the renovation of the Rizal Park in Manila, co-published the only German translation of El Filibusterismo, and financed the construction of the Rizal statue in Peru and in the provincial capital of Bohol.
Schoof and his Filipina wife settled in Baclayon, Bohol in 1995 where he established the Peacock Garden Resort, recognized by TripAdvisor as among the top 4 hotels in the Philippines. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO