SONA: What is the Academy for Sports for HS students the President’s backing up?


It was a special moment for Philippine sports when President Rodrigo R. Duterte mentioned sports in his 4th State of the Nation Address last July 22. It was one of the few times that a Philippine President made mention of sports in the SONA.

The President specifically mentioned about backing up the measure to create the National Academy for Sports for high school students. What is the President referring to here?

Digging up bills filed in the Senate and the House of Representatives, there are two bills that are probably what the President is eying: SB No. 1332 and SB No. 1292, both of 2017.

SB No. 1332 of 2017, known as “The Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) Act”, introduced by Senator Sonny Angara.

The PHSS intends to offer, on a full and partial scholarship basis, a secondary course with special emphasis on developing the athletic skills of the students through subjects pertaining to physical education and sports development, with the end in view of preparing its students who have shown their early potential of excelling in sports for a sports-related career while undergoing quality secondary education.

This proposed entity shall be attached to the Department of Education (DepEd).

In his explanatory note, Angara acknowledged inability of the present public and private school educational system to provide inadequate support to the student-athlete and how the PHSS is to help out cure this insufficiency.

Public school students have very limited options if they opt to pursue sports within the public education structure which is only through the Palarong Pambansa or the Philippine National Games that is, if they are talented enough to be recruited. In terms of curriculum, physical education (PE) is consolidated with music, arts, and health in just one academic subject that translates to less time and focus devoted to sports. In terms of curriculum, PE is taught but it is consolidated with music, arts, and health in just one academic subject, translating to lesser time and focus devoted to sports.

“While the DepEd has identified one high school in each region as schools with a Special Program in Sports (SPS), there is no clear training program and selection criteria in place. The private school system, on the other hand, provides more opportunities for exposure in sporting activities not only because PE is treated as a separate academic subject, but also because of the active development of varsity teams that participate in inter-school leagues across the country. However, it is not uncommon for student-athletes in private schools to experience academic difficulties due to the lack of time to study and complete projects.” the note said.

In contrast, the PHSS will have an academic curriculum that will teach the needed academic skills but at the same time provide the needed time and support for developing the students’ sports skills while giving hand to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in their duty of training and developing future world-class national athletes.

The PHSS system will also provide the student-athletes with skills, which will make them employable immediately after high school, in addition to their being better-trained, more equipped, and adequately supported because of their holistic development within PHSS.

Another measure with related objectives is SB 1292 of 2017 introduced by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.

In his explanatory note, Zubiri said that “the legislation seeks to create the Philippine Sports Academy that shall educate and serve as training ground for Filipino athletes. It shall provide the much needed support to prepare our students for possible careers in the field of sports and improve the odds of our players in international sporting competitions, such as the SEA Games and the Olympics, by providing the platform for grassroots sports development designed to deliver sustainable state support”.

The proposed Academy, an attached agency of the PSC, will grant degrees and train educators, coaches, trainers, sports managers, referees, umpires, community sports psychologists, sports medicine practitioners, etc. in different levels of specialization through academic degree and non-degree programs.

Both SB 1332 and 1292 are currently labeled pending according to the Senate’s website.

Earlier, the President signed into law RA 11214 in February this year that mandates the rise of the Philippine Sports Training Center (PSTC), a new sports complex in Pangasinan, expected to be completed by 2022.

By Armando M. Bolislis