SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian expressed optimism that the National Academy of Sports (NAS) will produce athletes who will follow in the footsteps of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the first Olympic gold medalist for the Philippines.

/ 30 July 2021

“First but definitely not the last,” Gatchalian said. 

The NAS was established following the signing into law of Republic Act 11470 last year. 

Gatchalian pointed out that while Filipino athletes need broader government support, the establishment of NAS is a major leap forward in institutionalizing government support for the next generation of Filipino athletes.

The law provides that the NAS will implement quality and enhanced secondary education program, integrated with a special curriculum on sports, which takes into consideration the education and special training needs of the student-athletes. 

The holistic and quality education that NAS shall provide its athletes will enable them to excel in their respective sports or pursue their chosen profession or career. 

It shall offer full scholarships to natural-born Filipino citizens with considerable potential in sports.

Gatchalian, who sponsored and co-authored the law, also pointed out that while face-to-face classes remain restricted, access to world-class facilities awaits the NAS scholars. 

The main campus of NAS will be at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac. 

The law also provides for the establishment of nationally-funded regional high schools for sports to boost the development of young athletes in other parts of the country.

Shortlisted applicants of the NAS Annual Search for Competent, Exceptional, Notable, and Talented Student-Athlete Scholars will be announced on August 18 while the signing of scholarship agreement and enrollment is on August 30.

“Through this sports academy, we will provide student-athlete scholars the support they deserve in the early stages of their journey so they can eventually bring pride and honor to our country and make history just like Hidilyn Diaz,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.