President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expressed optimism Tuesday that the National Academy of Sports (NAS) in New Clark City (NCC) in Tarlac could hone world-class athletes and champions who will bring honor to the country and spur sense of nationalism among Filipinos.
In his speech during the inspection of the main campus of the academy, President Duterte said the NAS is envisioned to be a world-class facility that will serve as a forefront in the country’s efforts to provide a conducive environment for the academic, sports training, and character development for young Filipino athletes.
“It is therefore my hope and maybe my prayer that the pioneer batch of student-athletes become well-rounded Olympians and champions who will carry our flag in the international sports arena and inspire a deep sense of patriotism among Filipinos,” he said.
“Let us continue to work with one another to sustain our present golden era of sports—even beyond my term—keeping in mind that the legacy we are building will not be ours alone but also for the succeeding generations to come.”
He cited the feat of Hidilyn Diaz, who beat the odds and paved the way for more aspiring athletes to excel and win medals for the country.
Diaz made history two years ago by winning the most-coveted gold medal in the Olympics — the first-ever for the Philippines.
The success of Diaz in weightlifting has encouraged the public, especially the youth, to take notice of the many talented athletes who are making waves in international sports, according to the President.
“It is thus an opportune time for me to help them maximize their potential with constant comprehensive projects and activities that promote the welfare and development of our athletes,” the President pointed out.
President Duterte also commended the NAS, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), and all government and private partners that contributed to the construction of the new institution despite the limitations brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
The NAS was institutionalized by virtue of Republic Act (RA) No. 11470 to recognize and develop talented students from all sectors, including those from indigenous communities and persons with disabilities (PWDs), and other marginalized groups.
It is an attached institution of the Department of Education (DepEd) in partnership with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Joining the President were Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Presidential Adviser for COVID Response and former BCDA President and CEO Vivencio Dizon, BCDA Officer-in-Charge and President-Chief Executive Officer Aristotle Batuhan, Senators Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Sherwin Gatchalian, and former House Speaker and Senator-elect Alan Peter Cayetano.
Philippine Olympic Committee President and Cavite 8th District Rep. Abraham Tolentino, Taguig 2nd District Rep. Maria Laarni Cayetano, Valenzuela City 2nd District Rep. Eric Martinez, Philippine Sports Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap, and National Academy of Sports Executive Director Josephine Joy Reyes were also present. PND