Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Leonor Briones supports the creation of a National Sports Academy of the Philippines (NSAP) that will showcase professional training and coaching in the field of sports. (Photo courtesy of Department of Education)

Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Leonor Briones has expressed support to the creation of a National Sports Academy of the Philippines (NSAP) that will showcase professional training and coaching in the field of sports.

During his speech in the opening of Batang Pinoy 2019, Briones said that the NSAP will cater high school students.

She said that the department is fully supporting the initiative that will provide curriculum for the sports event alone.

“Hangad nitong mapalakas ang sports ng bansa. Kailangan enjoy tayo at mahalin natin ang sports. Magtatayo tayo ng National Sports Academy of the Philippines, kung mayroon tayong high school for the arts and music, technical schools at science schools ay dapat magkaroon tayo ng sports academy dahil naniniwala kami na ang sports ay isang honorable na profession. It is not how you win the game but it is how you play,” she said.

She also said that based on their data, only .005 percent of the total number of students in elementary and high school have an interest in sports.

Briones said 60 percent of high school students go to universities and they like science, engineering, and mathematics, while 39 percent go to technical vocational schools to have work immediately.

“Pero .005 percent ang pumipili ng sports bilang area of interest. Kaya gusto sana namin na maging isang profession ang pagiging coach, trainor at atleta dahil ang sports ay also planning, scientific hindi lang laro,” Briones said.

The bill creating NSAP was authored by committee on sports chairman Sen. Bong Go.

In a separate interview, Go said that they are targeting to start the proposed sports academy in 2021 in Clark City, Pampanga which is free for all aspiring athletes.

He said that condominium will be provided within the school and all sports equipment.

It will also be free for the students, and after six years, the students may proceed to college.

“Gagawa tayo ng sports academy for high school kasama na sa curriculum nila ang training, pwedeng-pwede na pumasok dito ang mga kabataan na may potential sa sports kung saan sila ay nagti-training habang nag-aaral. Kapag natapos nila ang pag-aaral doon, they can proceed to college na. Sa ngayon kasi wala tayong school focusing on sports only, kaya dito sa gagawing sports academy ay doon na lahat ng facilities. From grade 7 to grade 12 din halos, six years din sila doon,” he said.

In addition, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez said that they are focusing on grassroots sports development following the marching orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Actually, we are targeting grass roots sports development, ‘yong kahit sino pwede makapaglaro. Nandiyan na ang batas pero marami pang proseso, ganoon kasi talaga ang proseso. This will be in Pampanga at may tinitignan na malaking area doon,” Ramirez said.

In his, State of the National Address (SONA) on June President Duterte said that he is supporting the creation of a national sports academy that will be catered to high school students.

“I support the proposed measure to create the national academy for sports for high school students,” Duterte said.