For the second year in a row, President Rodrigo R. Duterte gave sports a spot in his State of the Nation Address and the Act creating the National Academy of Sports (NAS) took center stage.
“I appreciate the law of establishing the National Academy of Sports,” the President said during his fifth SONA delivered at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. “We can now give our deserving student-athletes the training and the support they need to excel in their chosen field of endeavor,” Duterte said.
Last June 9, Duterte signed Republic Act 11470, the act establishing NAS, while he was in his hometown Davao City.
The NAS, set to be built inside the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac, mandated to implement a quality and enhanced secondary education program, integrated with a special curriculum on sports.
The NAS System affords chosen student-athletes in world class sports facilities which are at par with international standards while acquiring quality education, which in turn, hopefully paves the way for their becoming future national athletes.
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The academy is designed to recruit and develop highly talented and gifted young student athletes who have demonstrated the potential of excelling in the field of sports into would-be future sports heroes.
Natural-born Filipino citizens with potential in sports will be offered free secondary education on a full scholarship basis under the NAS System.
The curriculum under this system will take into consideration the education and special training needs of the student athletes and provide them with a holistic quality education that will enable them to excel in their sports field and pursue their chosen profession or career at the same time.
The NAS System shall be attached to the Department of Education, in close coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission.
It is expected that after a planning stage that will not exceed a period of one year after the effectivity of the Act, construction of the main campus shall commence which includes sufficient number of classrooms and facilities.
In a statement last month, the Office of the President said it consider this a good follow-through to our country’s hosting of the 2019 South East Asian Games, where the Philippines emerged as the over-all leader in the medal tally.
It observed that the Philippines has demonstrated in said athletic meet that it can be on par with its neighbors in the region in terms of sports and the signing of RA 11470 installed confidence on the country’s ability to raise student-athletes’ competitiveness in the field of sports and produce world-class athletes in the years to come.
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The Philippines won the overall championship with 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals.
It also lauded lawmakers from both Houses of Congress for making sure that this piece of legislation will be passed into law.
This was one of the priority legislative measures mentioned by the President in last year’s State of the Nation Address as recommended by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, and one of the principal authors of RA No. 11470.
In 2019, the President specifically mentioned about backing up the measure to create the National Academy for Sports for high school students during his fourth SONA.
For the record, these were among the few SONAs where a Philippine President put a spotlight on sports.
The NAS is viewed by many sports aficionados as, by far, the most concrete plan laid out and executed by the government towards achieving the missing piece of hardware in Philippine sports, the elusive first Olympics gold medal.
By: Armando M. Bolislis
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