FOR a change, a piece of good news for Philippine sports in the time of pandemic.
An educational facility intended for student-athletes will finally rise after President Duterte signed into law Republic Act (RA) 11470 creating the National Academy for Sports.
The President formalized the government-run public school dedicated to sports in a simple ceremony in Davao City on Wednesday.
“I firmly believe that with this law, we will be able to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of sports development,” Senator Bong Go, one of the principal authors, said.
Go added that with the establishment of the NAS gives student-athletes a chance to enjoy a level of training at par with the best in the world and at the same time be given quality education.
“It is about time that we establish a learning institution focused on sports. Ngayon na magkakaroon na ng National Academy of Sports, sabay nang mabibigyan ang mga kabataang atleta ng pagkakataon na mag-training at makapag-aral sa isang world-class na pasilidad at eskwelahan,” Go said.
The signing came at a time when local sports is trying to get back on its feet once again after being badly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Under the law, the academy will implement a secondary education program integrated with a special curriculum on sports aimed at developing the athletic skills of young Filipino athletes.
The main campus will be located at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac which served as the main hub when the country hosted the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year.
It will be equipped with sports facilities, housing, and other amenities that would be available to qualified student-athletes.
Attached to the Department of Education, the academy will be run in close coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez welcomed the signing of RA 11470 like a breath of fresh air.
“We are elated to see the hardwork of our leaders in the Senate and Congress come to fruition with this law,” said Ramirez.
“The PSC commits its support and cooperation in the implementation of RA 11470s provisions, recognizing its success as a vital boost to the country’s sports development and complementing the agency’s efforts in line with its mandate to develop grassroots and elite sports,” added the PSC chief.
The head of the DepEd will serve as chairman of the academy’s Board of Trustees, while heading the institution is an executive director with expertise in sports and appointed by the DepEd secretary.
Under the law, the academy is allowed to hire licensed foreign coaches, trainers, and consultants who are certified by the PSC.