THE Senate has approved a bill of Sen. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara Jr. to establish the Cebu Talisay Academy and Training Center.

When President Benigno Aquino III signs it into law, a sports academy will be set up in Talisay City, which the proponents hope will help develop homegrown talents into international champions, said Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr.

Gullas (Cebu Province, first district) drafted House Bill 4461, the House of Representatives’ counterpart of Angara’s bill.

“This would certainly boost the morale of our young Cebuano and Cebuana athletes, who, with the right training and adequate support, can be the best of the best in Southeast asia, the Asian region or even the world,” said Angara in a press statement emailed to Sun.Star Cebu.

Angara chairs the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports. He explained that the approval of the bill is part of Congress’ efforts to “expand the reach of the nation’s athletic programs, and enhance the Philippine’s competitiveness in major sporting events such as the Southeast Asian Games.”

“We have so much potential, but we still lack the policies, facilities and personnel needed to hone the skills and raw talent of those far away from the big training centers in Metro Manila and other urban centers,” Angara said. “We can hopefully train the future Manny Pacquiaos, Paeng Nepumucenos, Lydia de Vegas and the like.”

Gullas, for his part, said he is hopeful about generating the funds needed for the facilities the project needs. “We must have an oval, upgrade facilities for basketball, tennis and soccer, and hire the proper coaches and teachers,” Gullas said.

He said the center’s beneficiaries will be developed as student-athletes, emphasizing excellence in their studies as well.

Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante said he was grateful to Angara for the support, considering that Talisay City has a tradition of producing champions especially in swimming, boxing and cycling.