JULY 22, 2019, was the fourth State of the Nation Address of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and he highlighted significant gains of the administration as well as laying out plans for the country in the next three years of his administration.
In an unprecedented pronouncement, he mentioned his support for the creation of a National Sports Academy for High School. Unprecedented because sports has always taken a backseat in government plans for a long time. With this direction, it appears that the government is serious in uplifting the lives of Filipinos, employing all means possible, including sports.
No less than the Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez is grateful for this and has already expressed his support. The proposed academy would further establish a clear roadmap for Philippine sports.
A National Sports Academy is a vital component in the development of our athletes as they transition from prep to elite athletes sent to represent the country in international sports meets.
The way I see this development, it can be a two-pronged approach to answer the need for a well-rounded sports training and education of athletes.
While we are not still sure of how this goes about to become a reality, I would like to start lobbying to the 18th Congress to craft a bill that supports this. Hopefully, distinguished ladies and gentlemen of both houses see the opportunity this presents in support of Philippine sports as well as in nation-building.
While at it, the PSC can start to craft a conceptual framework for this project since this will be a flagship program of the commission once it becomes a law. I also encourage active collaboration among other government agencies for this to happen. Deped may help in taking care of the curriculum for the academy students while spotting prospective athletes in the Palarong Pambansa and Batang Pinoy meets. The Department of Budget and Management could also help for ample funding to sustain this particular initiative. Lastly, trained and qualified personnel to run the academy under the leadership of the PSC.
The PSC has done a great job in grassroots sports development through the Philippine Sports Institute. With this head start, the prospect of the National Sports Academy should make us all excited about the future of sports development in the country.
This may very well be the advent of a new era in Philippine sports. An era of inclusivity and collaboration where the youth can greatly benefit.