Senator Pia S. Cayetano now sees her long-time vision for the country to have its own sports academy moving closer to reality with the near completion of the New Clark City (NCC) sports complex in Capas, Tarlac.
At a press conference held Friday at the newly built NCC Aquatics Center, Cayetano said the sprawling complex could very well host the country’s first Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) that would train young, aspiring athletes for the national pool.
“My dream ever since is for our athletes to be housed in, not just a dorm, but a family-run residential area kung saan may mga mag-aalaga sa kanila. And within these premises are the sports facilities that they would need to train in,” shared Cayetano, a former member of the national volleyball team and principal author of Senate Bill No. 506 seeking to establish the PHSS.
“Now we have the opportunity – with the way the Sports Complex has been planned – for that to become a reality,” she added.
The NCC is a flagship project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which forms part of the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.
Phase 1A of the NCC project involves a 40-hectare Sports Complex that will serve as the main hub of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, which the country will host this year.
The complex consists of world-class sports facilities, including an Athletics Stadium, an Aquatics Center, as well as an Athletes’ Village.
“If you have a facility where [promising] student-athletes can be students and athletes at the same time, then that’s a win-win solution for building the future for these kids. They can excel in their craft, which is sports, pero hindi pa rin nila mapapabayaan ang education nila,” she explained.
On the other hand, the senator stressed that it takes more than just investing in infrastructure to fully promote sports development among young Filipinos.
“What I feel is key here is not just the availability of the facilities, but the [overall] vision. Without the desire to see the benefit of investing in our youth or giving them this kind of facility, the right food, the right nutrition, and mentoring, our vision will not be a reality,” she stressed.
“But with a government that really believes in molding the youth, in giving them a future, then I feel it can really happen,” Cayetano added.
In his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said he would support the move to create a national academy for sports for high school students.#