The Senate on Monday ratified a bicameral conference committee report to establish the National Academy of Sports (NAS).

The measure, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1086 and House Bill No. 6312, eyes the establishment of the academy’s main campus at the existing New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac.

The NAS will be attached to the Department of Education (DepEd), in close coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission PSC).

Students of the academy shall be given priority access to facilities at the New Clark City Sports Complex.

The proposal also mandates the setting up of nationally-funded regional high schools for sports.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, one of the bill’s co-authors and co-sponsors, lauded the ratification of the measure.

“I firmly believe that with this measure, we will be able to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of sports development,” he said in a manifestation speech.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, he also thanked his colleagues for supporting one of the priority measures that was mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“I would like to express my gratitude to this august chamber for coming together in support of this measure for the benefit of our youth and for the benefit of Philippine sports,” Go said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, also lauded the ratification of the measure, saying it would provide a significant boost in Philippine sports development.

“Through the National Academy of Sports, we are institutionalizing mechanisms, fundamentals, and government support to instill excellence among our athletes, who are a source of both national pride and unity for our country. We want to support aspiring athletes at the earliest possible opportunities so we would look for those who have the potential and train them in world-class facilities,” Gatchalian said.

While instilling sports excellence, the chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture said the measure also gives equal importance to how aspiring athletes can achieve academic excellence.

The NAS will be implementing quality and enhanced secondary education programs, with a special curriculum on sports.

This program will be geared towards the early recognition and development of talented students, especially those who have shown the potential to excel in sports.

The curriculum’s design will consider the students’ training needs while providing for holistic quality education.

Besides Go and Gatchalian, the measure’s other co-authors and co-sponsors were Senators Sonny Angara and Pia Cayetano. (PNA)