MANILA – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) expressed elation after President Rodrigo Duterte finally signed a law establishing the long-awaited National Academy of Sports (NAS) of the country.

“We are elated to see the hard work of our leaders in Senate and Congress come to fruition with this law,” said PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez in a statement on Wednesday, hours after Duterte inked Republic Act 11470 or the National Academy of Sports Act.

Ramirez added that his four commissioners, Mon Fernandez, Arnold Agustin, Charles Maxey, and Celia Kiram, share the same sentiment with him.

Set to be built at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, the NAS will cater to deserving high school student-athletes who want to excel in the sports they are in while getting quality education as well.

“The PSC commits its support and cooperation in the implementation of RA 11470’s provisions, recognizing its success as a vital boost to the country’s sports development and complementing the sports agency’s efforts in line with its mandate to develop grassroots and elite sports,” the PSC’s statement added.

RA 11470 grants full scholarship to qualified student-athletes.

According to the law, it would be equipped with the necessary sports facilities, housing and other amenities that are based on current international standards.

School buildings with a sufficient number of classrooms and facilities will also be constructed at the complex.

The NAS will be attached to the Department of Education (DepEd).

The DepEd, in close coordination with the PSC, is directed to develop the athletic skills and talents of students in facilities at par with international standards.

The DepEd secretary will chair the academy’s Board of Trustees while an executive director appointed by the education chief and has an expertise in sports will head the NAS.

Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Sports and one of the principal authors of RA 11470, said this law heralds a new era in Philippine sports development.

“It is about time that we establish a learning institution focused on sports,” he said. “I firmly believe that with this law, we will be able to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of sports development.” (PNA)