When she returned to the country last month, Jaja Santiago revealed that Ageo Medics looks to sponsor her naturalization to become a Japanese citizen.
According to Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Tats Suzara, he and the 25-year-old native of Tanza, Cavite were able to talk about it during the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team’s tryouts in Subic last April 28.
“Jaja, during the tryouts, kind of discussed with me the possibility for her to play in Japan, to change her federation,” Suzara bared to the Chasedown.
If Santiago becomes naturalized, she can now play as a local in the V.League — a league that has turned into her home over the last three years. Moreover, she can be eligible to play for Japan’s national team, a nation that ranks seventh in the world.
But it won’t come easy.
Santiago first has to establish residence in Japan for two straight years. Moreover, she first needs to obtain Japanese citizenship.
Finally, the PNVF must agree with the Japan Volleyball Association to let Santiago go.
“The Philippine National Volleyball Federation has to approve first her change of federation of origin going to the Japan Volleyball Association. And once the Japan Volleyball Association needs to process that, it needs FIVB approval,” explained Suzara, who is also the chairman of the AVC’s Development & Marketing Committee.
“If the federation doesn’t approve that she will change her federation, then she cannot change her nationality or her federation so it needs approval from the federation.”
The federation will support Santiago if her request to change citizenship arises, though.
Suzara still stressed that the country, which ranks 119th in the world, needs the 6-foot-4 Santiago to help grow the sport here.
“I think Jaja has a future also in Japan, but again, we need Jaja, of course, here in the Philippines, as a Filipina who really brings our flag and honor as a national team player for the Philippines.”