Nat’l Academy of Sports: Dream comes true for Filipino athletes

Statement welcoming the signing of the National Academy of Sports Act

By Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Principal author and co-sponsor, RA 11470

Ten years after I first filed the Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) bill, it is now a law! Republic Act No. 11470, renamed as the National Academy of Sports, was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte today.

I thank our President and all my colleagues in the Senate and House who made significant contributions to this law and for making this a reality.

I have always believed that sports can transform lives and uplift communities. As a former student-athlete and national team player for volleyball, this measure is close to my heart, and has been part of my advocacy for a decade. I remember filing my first version of this proposal back in 2010, based on an idea shared by Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag. Then a member of the House of Representatives, Senator Sonny Angara also filed a similar bill in the Bigger House.

Over the years, I have visited national training centers and high schools for sports in other countries. These centers have allowed their young student-athletes to pursue their passion in sports, get the training they need, and still stay in school. We have so much talent all over the country, but for many student-athletes, it has always been a choice – to study or to train. Now they can have both!

With the enactment of this law, we are a step closer towards building a better future for millions of young Filipinos who have the potential to excel both in sports and in life. They can now receive world-class training while pursuing their academic education. The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed much of the way we live, but it will just be a matter of time that our athletes will be back training in full force.

This law will certainly open more doors for our youth, including opportunities for college scholarships and the chance to represent our country. But beyond this is the opportunity to build their character and teach them values like hard work and discipline through sports, which will prepare them for a brighter future ahead. These young athletes will bring honor to their families and hometowns, and will become our next generation of homegrown heroes!

The National Academy of Sports will be instrumental in cultivating national pride. Training with the best in the country will elevate our young athletes’ level of  performance in regional and international sports competitions. This will enable us to build on our recent victory in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. The foundation has been laid; the time has come to build a nation of winners. And we will continue to win as one! #

Senator Pia S. Cayetano trains with female members of the Philippine Heptathlon Team at the indoor track facility of the New Clark City Athletic Stadium.
Senator Pia Cayetano was one of the earliest supporters of the country’s budding national gymnastics program that produced Carlos Yulo, the most bemedalled Filipino athlete of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
With world-class pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, one of the Philippines’ gold medal hopefuls for the Tokyo Olympic games, which have been moved to July 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bukidnon’s pride heptathlete Sarah Dequinan and long-distance runner Christine Hallasgo personify the wealth of athletic potential among the Filipino youth, especially in the provinces.
The National Academy of Sports will rise at the sprawling New Clark City complex in Capas, Tarlac. File photo of Senator Pia Cayetano with triathlete John Chicano, who won the Philippines’ first gold at the 2019 SEA Games, and officials and partners of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) led by Chair Vince Dizon at the world-class New Clark City Aquatics Center.
Serving for Philippine sports then and now: Former national volleyball player-turned-lawyer-and-senator Pia Cayetano credits her sports training for her discipline and character.
Working with House and Senate colleagues at the bicameral conference committee meeting on the National Academy of Sports bill.

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