Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns

National Academy of Sports Philippines

Introduction: National Academy of Sports Philippines Concerns and Issues
(Jul 8, 2020)


  • After listening to speaker Ms. Rosa P. Calleja. Regarding concerns and questions about the proposed National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  • On Pinoyathletics Track Talk Tuesday’s we will discuss National Academy of Sports Philippines
  • It led to even more worrying questions that even I had not thought of.
  • And made me feel less comfortable with the proposed National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  • For those of you a disclaimer and warning that what is written is not for the faint-hearted. This is a continuation of our previous write up regarding concerns on the National Academy of Sports Philippines

Will CLRAA joins NCR and  STCAA  as the Big Three Recruiters of the Future soon to be challenged by the National Academy of Sports Philippines

National Academy of Sports Philippines
National Academy of Sports Philippines

On a previous Forum of the Sports Council of the Philippines, another female speaker (not Calleja) tried stating that the National Academy of Sports  Philippines will be good for regionalization.

  1. How will National Academy of Sports Philippines be good for regionalization?
  2. How will National Academy of Sports Philippines be good for grass root coaches?

Grass root coaches already have to contend, athletes, they develop going to richer regions like NCR and STCAA.

Now also National Academy of Sports Philippines.

Now unless CLRAA is just going to be for its own Region.


How is National Academy of Sports Philippines helping the rest of the country?

Of course, the speaker refused to comment struggling to justify what she had just stated. 

Back to track talk with Calleja.

It was unclear what region the athletes will represent at the Palaro if there is an exodus or deluge of athletes from other regions that will be absorbed into the National Academy of Sports Philippines.  

  1. Will they have to go and compete for their region?
  2. And if so do they need to join the city/provincial qualifying and regional tournaments?
  3. or will they now be competing for a future powerhouse CLRAA?
  • The DepEd is still figuring that out despite a bill has been passed regarding National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  • Here’s hoping everything falls into place as time goes on for National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  • As time goes on it seem schools are going after younger and younger athletes.
  • And it won’t be long before Elementary athletes are being headhunted.

New Residency Rule of DEPED

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 3

It was highlighted the DEPED is looking at bringing in a new 1-year residency rule

What this means is athletes that change the region must miss one year of eligibility at Palarong Pambansa and wait till the following year to represent their new region.

While Pinoyathletics has been putting pressure on DEPED to do something about the deluge of athletes being lured by richer private schools via social media.

We do welcome this.

However, Pinoyathletics feels the DEPED must take a stronger approach we initially suggested.

And that is to ban all athletes who change the region from the Palaro unless they are moving region for a reasonable reason.

For example, if the whole family moves and relocates for work.

This is better than having a separate national high school championship for private and public schools.

As private schools with all the resources will still continue to grab all the athletes.

It will deter private schools if they have no league to join.

Furthermore, it would be good practice for CHED in line with DEPED to also apply this residency rule.

So athletes that are switching even between say SCUAA and PRISAA to UAAP will also endure a one year residency.

National Academy of Sport Philippines – World Class Athletes?

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 4

The DepEd is stating it wants to produce world-class athletes. But was not sure how to define it.

Australian Coach and former head Gintong Alay coach Tony Benson gave the best definition of how to class high school age athletes as world-class.

Its if they can meet the qualifying standards for the World Youth and World Junior competitions which are held every 2 years on alternate years.

So far nearly all the Palarong Pambansa and National Junior records (meaning the best ever in that event) of the Philippines are below the qualifying criteria.

As observed it seems common practice for a lot of common coaching principles to be disregarded during a lot of in-house training.

In house, training is what is implemented one month before Palaro.

These include Impromptu Time Trials, Excessive training sessions, in some cases rest and recovery not being adhered to, and focus on the quantity of running rather than the quality of technique.

World-Class Coaches? Where to next?

The next question is which coaches will coach at this National Sports Academy?

Obviously to level up standards international ones.

But then what happens after High school.

Why have world-class coaches in high school?

And then offload athletes to UAAP?

That is clearly not equipped with world-class coaches or facilities.

Unless there are plans to replace these coaches as well with higher-skilled coaches.

And even if UAAP had enough coaches to produce World Class athletes then what about the level of competition provided?

Even if the athlete has world-class coaching in the Philippines or they also build a National Sports College the level of competition is not enough. 

An athlete must move on after this to the United States (strongest league world NCAA), Europe (lots of good meets), or Australia if they want to continue their status as a world-level athlete.

Psychological Issues being away from parents?

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 5

Having worked at the Zamboanga Sports Academy (essentially a boarding school) before.

My job did not stop as a coach on the track.

It was very hard work maintaining my squad.

While I was lucky enough not to have any kids quit.

It was not without sacrifice having to spend time with the help of my assistant coach who often acted as mediator, the school principal, and school guidance counselor keeping the kid’s stress levels down due to long periods away from their parents.

Unfortunately for the two local athletics coaches there that weren’t the case as they lost 1/2 to 2/3 of their athletes due to homesickness stress.

These two other coaches had their own families so they simply did not have the time to put into keeping stress levels and retaining homesick athletes.

Take into account also the parents were maybe 1-hour drive away at most as this is a provincial academy situation.

So they could come by anytime they wanted to visit their children.

And the children go to go home every 2 weeks. The thing is to remember they are athletes but they are children first.

And children need their parents.

The parents really want their kids to stay at the school as provincial parents sometimes have 6-10 kids.

So one less mouth to feed and take care of made it easier on them.

However at the end of the day if the children wanted to go home even if the parents wanted them to stay not much could be done.

The risk was the child might run away if they didn’t want to be at the academy and the parents didn’t want them to go home.

So with the National Academy of Sports, it will face this problem along with a multiple others.

The kids cant exactly go home every two weeks as they are from all over an archipelago separated by water.

What the Zamboanga Sports academy faced will be magnified at the National Academy of Sports.

Miss Calleja also advised they will have house parents.

These house parents must be perfectly screened because in the Philippines a lot of deviants will be applying for jobs that give them easy access to vulnerable children.

The Need for a National Sports Philosophy

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 6

Finally, this last part is contributed by Lyceum of Manila Sports Director Dean Hercules Callanta.

Who has advocated on several recent online forums the strong need for a National Sports Philosophy?

The National Sports Academy, if properly founded and directed, will be a welcome change for Philippine Sports.
Its foundation must be a clearly stated and focused philosophy that is aligned with the national sports philosophy.
However, to my knowledge, there is no clearly stated national sports philosophy.
At best, the national sports program is geared toward winning medals in international competitions.
Whether stated or not, this is a very narrow focus and must be treated only as the philosophy for elite sports.
The need for a national sports philosophy is paramount because it is where the elite sports program will be anchored on.
With regard to elite sports development, if it seeks to develop world caliber athletes, it must take into consideration the long process of world-class athlete development.
It should develop the whole individual toward high performance.
While the talents can be sourced from the regional and even national competitions, their training and development must be aimed at the bigger world stage.
They must not be allowed to revert back to their regional or club competitions.
They must not be allowed to leave the training program temporarily because it will set their timetable back.
Given the ‘topsy turvy ‘scheduling of Philippine sports competitions, and their low level compared to international standards, participating in them will not give the priced athletes any advantage.
Instead, they should be primed for international youth and junior competitions.
Even the collegiate leagues should be off-limits to them.
They must solely be for international competitions.
If they leave the program, they cannot go back.
The slots for the NSA should be reserved only for the really talented.
And their training should also include modular, goal-oriented education that develop their competencies without being centered on subjects and courses, but rather developing competencies toward becoming a good athlete and citizen.
Their education must not interfere with their training but should develop their non-sporting self.   

National Academy of Sports of the Philippines Questions

  1. How will that work?
  2. Who are qualified?
  3. Students need to relocate to Tarlac away from their family?
  4. Is there a dorm or housing?
  5. Which region will they represent at Palaro since they are now studying in Tarlac?
  6. What about the psychological effect on the child if he has to dorm away from his family at an early age? Psychologists, Guidance councillors
  7. Vulnerable children, screening of staff to avoid paedophiles and deviants being employed to work with children.
  8. Is this an elementary to SHS level school or including college?
  9. What are the credentials of coaches they would hire for the National Academy of Sports? If you hire international coaches then u need even better for UAAP
  10. What is the purpose and objective of National Academy of Sports and how do they plan to achieve it?
  11. Where do athletes go after.

Building the hardware infrastructure is important but the soft skills needed to make it successful is just as important both in the administrators and coaches.

Are they hiring foreign coaches to handle the program?

Article by Andrew Pirie & Airnel T. Abarra

First Published February 28, 2020


We will be having a ZOOM Forum today. With a member of the DEPED to discuss the National Academy of Sports

Thursday 25th June 2:00PM Manila Time.
We talk with Rosa Ligaya P. Calleja
OIC Chief, Special Curricular Programs Division, Bureau of Curriculum Development, Department of Education.
In regard to questions about the National Academy of Sports Philippines
Join the discussion on ZOOM and ask your questions to the #DEPED.


I have sent a tweet to Senator Sonny Angara expressing concerns over this program.

Also posted this on Facebook

I think that having a solid PE program in schools is more important than trying to make an elite Sports academy at this point.

Once you have a solid PE program in place then that is the time to build Sports academies.

In NZ and Australia in schools, kids have 1 hour a day of physical activity either through organized sports or free play in Elem school. high school its an hour of organized sports in the curriculum.

In the Philippines obesity, diabetes, etc are on the rise.

And yeah kids spending more time on Ipads, and playing league of legends on their cell phones sure doesn’t help.

It is the responsibility of a government for the health and well being of its citizens.

The Sports academy while bares merit as a good idea, and in fact, every province should have one.

Should really be put on hold until a good Physical education syllabus can be established to get kids more active first.

I’m also hoping that this sports academy does not force kids to specialize at a young age in one particular sport, as they should be developing cross motor skills than doing damaging repetitive movements that can lead to burn out.

Also, Doc as I think you mentioned before extended time being away from parents at a young age what impact does this have mentally and emotionally?

When you build a pyramid it must start with the base.

Reddit Responses

Philippine High School for Sports

  Philippine High School for Sports

Quite recently a bill was passed Senate Bill 1086.

While there is some merit in this idea as it will train up people for sports careers in admin, coaching, officiating, etc. Pinoyathletics will discuss why it’s a bad idea.

As it will impact badly on grass-root coaches from other regions in the Philippines. With NCR and STCAA private schools already poaching athletes from provincial coaches.

It could end up with NCR, STCAA, and the sports school which will be built in CLRAA doing the poaching.

Philippine High School for Sports

Article and Summary on the New  Philippine High School for Sports  from Sunstar

THE Senate approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to create the Philippine High School for Sports which will help develop and train future generations of Filipino athletes.

Under Senate Bill no. 1086, student-athletes will be allowed to enroll in a sports high school where they are provided with full or partial scholarships by the government.

The students may choose their own track, which will not be limited to the sports track.

The passage of SBN 1086 into law would establish a dedicated national high school offering a secondary course with special emphasis on developing the athletic skills of the students through subjects pertaining to physical education and sports development.


“The end view of this legislation is to unleash the potential of young Filipinos who have shown the early potential of excelling in sports for a sports-related career,” Gatchalian said. (SunStar Philippines)

Full Article Here

European Example How Hungary does things

By Airnel Abarra

I’ve been reading the news about the Philippine High School for Sports and other related discussions on sports academies.

In my point of view, the efficacy of these academies exists on the right people, culture, and structures.

Hungary which is a dynamic sporting nation which has won more Olympic medals than any other nation that has never hosted the Games doesn’t have a particular sports academy but has a strong culture in Sports through a solid club system, united and one university sports federation, one umbrella organization for coaches’ education, and of course, rigorous academics and research culture provided by the University of Physical Education or Testnevelési Egyetem.

The slogan or thrust of the university is: “Uniting mind, strength, and morals”.

They believe that positive traditional values in sports must go hand in hand with innovative practices.

That’s why if we are really serious about institutionalizing the National Academy of Sports  Philippines, we must strengthen our philosophy and rationale why we must build this program.

As you can see in the photo the buildings of the university are both classic and modern. Wherein the heritage is preserved while coexisting with modern structures and standards.

Today is my 6th ”monthsary” of my arrival in Magyarország (Hungary). I’m glad of my home for the next four years that even with challenges in language etc, TE provided a positive and nurturing environment for a lone Fülöp-szigeteki Ph.D. Hallgató. Hajrá TE!

National Academy of Sports  Philippines for Sports Points (Airnel Abarra)

One thing as well is the sustainability and continuity of the program. Just playing the devil’s advocate here.

Oo may high school for sports. Pero pag kolehiyo, saan mapupunta o sinong sasalo?

Worst case scenario na-centralized lang ang piracy or poaching.

Besides maraming studies na ang prime or peak ng atleta ay usually 18-24 yrs old except sa Gymnastics. Dito kasi, batay na din sa pag-aaral na ang early specialization ay mas lalong detrimental sa performance.

Effect on Grass Root Coaches

We need to be more considerate towards local coaches as well. I mean we seem to want to be very athlete-centered.


But coaches as well have a huge part to play in this especially Grassroot coaches that are doing all the foundation work.

Provincial and grass-root coaches are not paid very much and make a lot of sacrifices.

The only satisfaction they really get from doing what they are doing if being able to develop and nurture athletes.

Previously the grass-root coaches basically had to say goodbye to their athletes at the college level when the athletes went off to Manila for NCAA and UAAP. Now they have to compete also with poaching from the National Academy of Sports Philippines.

This left the grass-root coaches to focus on the High school and elementary level.

But with the introduction of the K2-12  now the trend is for regions such as NCR and STCAA private schools to recruit younger and younger athletes.

In this case, they are not waiting for athletes to graduate they are getting them when they still have playing years in the Palaro which is creating an unfair advantage for the two regions that have money to buy athletes.


National Academy of Sports Philippines

Now with the establishment of a National Academy of Sports Philippines, it makes the job of the poachers easier as someone else is going to do the poaching for them.

Now a grassroot coach in the province may not even get the satisfaction of being able to develop high school age athletes, as the national sports schools’ purpose is to get the best athletes from the province.

These athletes will probably now representing CLRAA.

Which will create an unfair stack along with NCR and STCAA.

How long is it going to be before Private schools etc. start poaching Elementary age athletes? or is it already happening?


They really should make a rule about athletes switching regions at the Palaro. I mean fair enough if the whole family moves to Manila to work that is fair enough.

But what happens most of the time is private schools buy the athletes from the province to give NCR and also STCAA an unfair advantage over the other 16 regions in the country.

What should be done is not allow athletes who transfer region to join the Palaro unless its due to family moving for work, especially if it’s a private school getting an athlete.

The region puts a lot of effort into developing an athlete at Palaro level and it creates an unfair advantage or deluge to a region such as NCR whose private schools have money to go on a shopping spree to deprive the regions of their strongest players for the Palaro.

NCR Students Missing Out on Sports Programs

On a side note not to mention the fact coaches prefer to recruit from the province while Hundreds of schools in Pasay, Makati, etc do not have the opportunity for their students to join sports programs.

It’s only due to the work of coaches such as Saturnino Salazar who has taken on 3 schools in Pasig that these kids are given the opportunity to represent their own region up against the deluge of athletes pouring in from the provinces who are also trying to represent NCR.

I posted that part I wrote in response to Airnel Talatala Abarra on the DEPED FB Page Lots of grass-root coaches started liking the post. Not surprisingly DepEd Philippines deleted the post as they do not seem open to any changes or ideas.

DepEd Philippines has left me with no choice but to publish an article on my website. So my 20k+ FB Followers and 80,000 strong mailing list can be duly informed about the National sports school.

National Academy of Sports Philippines Why it’s a bad idea?

Bring in a National Academy of Sports Philippines in CLRAA is a horrid idea.

A National Academy of Sports Philippines just encourages that school along with NCR and STCAA to continue to poach athletes from the other 15 regions from other coaches at High school and dare I say it even Elementary level. 

That is certainly 100% NOT GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY.

Ideally, the CLRAA sports school should be confined to just recruiting athletes in CLRAA, and if they cant recruit athletes from certain coaches offer support and help to coaches rather than just grabbing their athletes.


How coaches in provinces can be helped.

1. Offer training courses and upskilling accreditations etc
2. Conduct clinics invite coaches along
3. Establish a code of ethics that should be adhered to, including drawing up anti-poaching legislation
4. Host competitions and invite local coaches to bring their athletes to join.
5. Provide equipment etc to help with training

The PSC, DEPED, and Government should work with LGUs and private companies to establish a sports school in each Region. So there is no athlete drain on the other provinces.  Instead of the National Academy of Sports Philippines.

According to a Provincial Sports Administrator

Incontestably, mass-based and grassroots sports devt are the keys.

And we are talking here of LGU taking charge; private schools and local Sports assns should just be supporting actors.

A coalition of discourses on sports leading to strong policy advocacy and sports culture should be strengthened especially on the ground. 

National Academy of Sports Philippines: Children being away from parents for prolonged periods of time

I worked in a sports academy in Zamboanga. Which is a smaller scaled-down version of the National Academy of Sports Philippines.

I coached 18 athletes, and I did not lose a single athlete on my program.

However, it involved a lot of work outside coaching. Pep talks, 3-way dialogues with the guidance counselor, help from my assistant coach giving pep talks.

Suffice to say my co-coaches commonly lost 1/2 to 2/3 of their athletes.

As much as the parents wanted their children to be in the sports academy.

If the children wanted to go home and weren’t happy with the stress of being away from their parents then that was pretty much the end of their stay.

In this situation it was a boarding school and children were allowed to go home to see parents every 2nd weekend, outside of this parents could visit.

Take into account parents lived an hour or so at most away from the sports academy.

However, in the National Academy of Sports Philippines situation, they won’t be able to go home every 2 weeks in most cases.

How is the National Academy of Sports Philippines going to deal with the emotional stress athletes will face from being away from their parents?

The bottom line is Children Need Their Parents! they are athletes but they are children first. I just fathom the long term effects of being away from parents for so long on children.


In Conclusion

While the National Academy of Sports Philippines has good intentions. The manpower and structure is just not there for this project.

As well as this clear pathways guidelines and safety measures have not been well thought through for the National Academy of Sports Philippines.

It’s kind of like we will make it up as we go along scenario when it comes to the National Academy of Sports Philippines.

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Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 7

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