MANILA, Philippines -- Prof. Josephine Joy Reyes, a frontrunner of the country's sports talent-identification program, has been tapped to direct the soon-to-rise National Academy of Sports (NAS).
Reyes, also the head of the Philippine Sports Commission's Sports Physiology Unit, was chosen from a roster of experts in the field of grassroots sports development.
"I just want to deliver. I just want to perform. I just want to serve," said the newly-appointed NAS executive director.
"I know it's going to be a big task, because remember, this is not just a simple department," she added. "It's not a simple unit, but we are talking about a school system."
Before her appointment, Reyes spearheaded the testing and manual creation of the Sports Mapping Action Research Talent Identification, and has been serving at the PSC's Medical Scientific Athletes Services for 27 years.
As the NAS executive director, Reyes will be responsible for the administration and operation of the campus.
She was appointed by the NAS' board of trustees, headed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, co-chair William Ramirez of the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino, and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Prospero de Vera.
"It is an honor on the PSC's part that someone who has been in the field of sports for so long with the PSC and helped in the development of grassroots sports will take a key role in NAS," said Ramirez.
"As the future home of our budding sportsmen, it will help that the executive director is brilliant, competent, and with good character," he added.
A former athlete herself, Reyes' is fueled by her commitment to improve the athletic performance of the national team.
"The reason why my heart is in this field and in PSC is because ang passion ko nasa atleta. Naging atleta rin ako ng national team," said Reyes. "I'm really on the side of development, looking at their progress and performance."
For Reyes, producing world-class athletes is the primary reason for the launching of NAS. With adequate facilities and funding, young Filipinos can develop their talent and potential, and be motivated to excel in sports.
"We want them to excel also in academics at the same time, excelling in sports. Hindi lang sa sports, kailangan magkaroon din sila ng balance para may future rin sila while staying in the national team and in the future," said Reyes.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the National Academy of Sports Act in June.
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.
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 a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News