In support of grassroots sports development, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure establishing a ‘premier training center” that will offer full or partial scholarships, with special emphasis on developing the athletic skills of young Filipinos in a bid to mold them into world-class athletes.
Villafuerte said “the establishment of the National Academy of Sports (NAS), as provided for by Republic Act (RA) No. 11470, will maximize the use of the world-class sports complex in New Clark City (NCC) in Tarlac that hosted last year’s edition of the biennial Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.”
The NAS will offer full or partial scholarships to natural born Filipinos in secondary education.
Under RA 11470, the NAS is mandated to offer a special curriculum for secondary education or high school students with subjects pertaining to physical education (PE) and sports development.
“The creation of a specialized educational institution designed to hone both the academic and athletic skills of students with exceptional talent in this field of endeavor will go a long way in transforming gifted young Filipinos into world-class athletes,” Villafuerte said.
The deputy speaker for finance was the lead author of the House bill establishing the NAS, while Senator Bong Go was the principal proponent of the counterpart Senate bill.
The bicameral conference committee report on the House and Senate bills was approved by the Congress last May.
Duterte signed RA 11470 in Davao City last June 9.
Villafuerte said the NAS will offer full or partial scholarships to natural born Filipinos in secondary education, as “RA 11470’s goal is to educate students who have shown their early potential of excelling in sports for a sports-related career while undergoing quality secondary education.”
“The NCC sports complex boasts an athletics stadium, aquatics center, Athlete’s village and a river park development, which can all be put to good once the NAS is operational,” he said.
Villafuerte pointed out that while Republic Act (RA) No. 6847 created the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to support our athletes and provide them with the opportunity to be outstanding in and out of the country, “grassroots sports development remains lacking and talents are still underdeveloped and unrecognized.”
When he was CamSur governor, Villafuerte established the Camarines Sur Sports Academy, which integrated sports training in the curriculum of high school students.
“Grassroots sports development remains lacking and talents are still underdeveloped.”
This initiative resulted in the sharpening of skills of Camarines Sur student athletes who later on excelled in Palarong Pambansa competitions.
“As the enthusiasm for sports is seen to grow, it is important that we ensure that our athletes are given adequate means for opportunities and that their potential is recognized,” Villafuerte said. “Even President Duterte pointed out that sports play an important role in encouraging a healthy lifestyle and instilling essential characteristics.”
The NAS will be attached to the Department of Education (DepEd) and will coordinate closely with the PSC in the formulation and implementation of policies on subjects pertaining to sports.
A sportsman, Villafuerte had built—on his watch as governor—the six-hectare Camarine Sur Watersports Complex (CWC) at the Provincial Capitol Complex in Pili that is the first world-class watersports complex in Asia.
The CWC is considered the best cable park in the world.