MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Thursday said he has high hopes for student-athletes in their journey to becoming world-class athletes.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed Republic Act (RA) 11470 which establishes the National Academy of Sports (NAS) designed as an educational facility for student-athletes.

“We commend President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for signing the Republic Act (RA) No. 11470 that establishes the National Academy of Sports (NAS) System,” Andanar said in a statement.

Andanar also lauded lawmakers and the Senate Committee on Sports chair, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, one of the principal authors of the law.

He is hopeful that more student-athletes would prove their capability to compete internationally just like it did during the Philippines’ hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games where the country emerged as the overall champion.

“The NAS System will further support the development of our student-athletes towards becoming highly-talented, competent, and exceptionally gifted athletes who will continue to give world-class recognition and pride to our nation,” he said.

Under the new law, the NAS, which will be attached to the Department of Education (DepEd), will be tasked to develop a secondary education program that is integrated with a special curriculum on sports to help young Filipino athletes develop further their sporting skills.

The law grants full scholarship to qualified natural-born secondary school students.

Among others, the law requires that the main campus of the NAS shall be established at the existing New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac.

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 DepEd, in close coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission (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.

The new law allows the academy’s board to approve the hiring of licensed foreign coaches, trainers, and consultants duly-certified by PSC to ensure the international competitiveness of the student-athletes. (PNA)