MANILA -- (UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the National Academy of Sports Act, which would establish an educational facility designed for student-athletes, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Republic Act No. 11470 seeks to establish the National Academy of Sports which integrates secondary education with a special curriculum on sports to help young Filipino athletes study while training, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
"We consider this a good follow-through to our country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, where the Philippines emerged as the overall leader in the medal tally," Roque said in a statement.
"The Philippines has demonstrated that we can be on par with our neighbors in the region in terms of sports," he added.
With the President's signing of the measure, Roque said the Palace is "confident that we will be able to raise our student-athletes’ competitiveness in the field of sports and produce world-class athletes in the years to come."
Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, one of the principal authors of the measure, said the new law would help the Philippines in terms of sports development.
"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," Go said in a statement.
"Maganda ang performance natin noong nakaraang SEA Games pero kailangan nating maibalik ang pagiging sports powerhouse ng Pilipinas sa Asya," said Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Sports.
(We had a good performance during the Southeast Asian Games but we have to regain the Philippines' title of being the sports powerhouse of Asia.)
"Naniniwala ako na epektibong paraan ang sports upang mailayo natin ang mga kabataan sa iligal na droga, kriminalidad at katiwalian," he said.
(I believe that sports is an effective way to keep our children away from illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.)
Under the law, qualified student-athletes can enter the National Academy of Sports through scholarships.
The multi-billion New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac will house the National Academy of Sports where students "shall have access to existing sports facilities" in the area previously used as venues for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The Academy's budget will be included in the Department of Education's annual funding, and "all income and monetary donations" given to the academic institution will be placed into the Sports High School Fund.
The fund will be subject to existing government budgeting, accounting and auditing rules, according to the bill.
"With this landmark measure, the Philippines can produce more world-class Filipino athletes who are well-educated and well-rounded, with a strong sense of patriotism and love of country," Go said.
The approval of the measure that seeks to strengthen the Philippines' footing in sports comes a week after the Philippine Sports Commission decided to strip losing national athletes of allowances. -- with a report from Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).