Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns

Article by Enzo Williams, Airnel Abarra

Sports Philosophy provided by Dean Hercules Callanta

Proof Read by Vic Salas

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Will the National Academy of Sport impact negatively on Grass Root Coaches in Provinces?

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In my opinion, It’s worse than poaching for college/universities.

Instead, I’d let my athletes take top 4-8 so as not to be included in NAS (Referring to how the National Academy of Sports Philippines plans to recruit top 3 from Palarong Pambansa). – Quoted by a Grassroot Coach from Mindanao.


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 the National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  • It led to even more worrying questions that even I had not thought of. 
  • It made me feel less comfortable with the proposed National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  •  For those of you, a disclaimer and warning that what comes next is not for the faint-hearted. This article is a continuation of our previous write-up regarding concerns on the National Academy of Sports Philippines.


Will CLRAA join NCR and  STCAA  as one of the “Big Three Recruiters of the Future” soon challenged by the National Academy of Sports Philippines.

National Academy of Sports Philippines
National Academy of Sports Philippines

In a previous forum of the Philippines’ Sports Council, another female speaker (not Calleja) stated that the National Academy of Sports Philippines would be suitable for regionalization. 


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


Grass root coaches already have to contend with athletes going to wealthier regions like NCR and STCAA unless the National Academy of Sports Philippines will recruit athletes from CLRAA only. 


How is the 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 a departure or deluge of athletes from the other provinces 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 passed regarding the National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  • Here’s hoping everything falls into place as time goes on for the National Academy of Sports Philippines.
  • As time goes on, it seems schools are going after younger and younger athletes. 
  • And it won’t be long before Elementary athletes are headhunted.


New Residency Rule of DEPED

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 2

Highlighting the fact the DEPED is looking at bringing in a new 1-year residency rule

The new residency rule means athletes who change the region must miss one year of eligibility at Palarong Pambansa and wait until the following year to represent a different region.

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

However, Pinoyathletics feels the DEPED must take a more assertive approach than Pinoyathletics initially suggested. That is to ban all athletes who change the region from the Palaro unless they are moving provinces for a reasonable reason. 

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

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

 As private schools with all the resources will 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 Sports Philippines – World Class Athletes?

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 3

The DepEd is stating it wants to produce world-class athletes. But I was not sure how to define it—National Academy of Sports Philippines.

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

It can meet the qualifying standards for the World Youth and World Junior competitions, held every two years on alternate years. 

Nearly all the Philippines’ Palarong Pambansa and National Junior records (meaning the best in that event) are below the qualifying criteria.

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

 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 to international standards ones.

But then what happens after High school.

Why have world-class coaches in high school?

And then offload athletes to UAAP? Which does not have world-class coaches or facilities.

Unless there are plans to replace these coaches and higher-skilled coaches, and even if UAAP had enough coaches to produce World Class athletes, what about the level of competition provided?

Competition is not enough even if the athlete has world-class coaching in the Philippines or builds a National Sports College.

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

Psychological Issues being away from parents?

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 4

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

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

It was arduous work maintaining my squad. 

While I was lucky enough not to have any kids quit, this was not without sacrifice, having to spend time with my assistant coach’s help, who often acted as mediator. The school principal and school guidance counselor—working together keeping the kid’s stress levels down due to long periods away from their parents.

Unfortunately for the two local athletics coaches, 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 did not have the time to keep stress levels and retain 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 get to go home every two weeks. The thing is to remember they are athletes, but they are children first.

 And children need their parents. 

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

So one more petite mouth to feed and take care of, making it easier on them. 

However, if the children wanted to go home at the end of the day, nobody could do much, even if they wanted to stay.

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 numerous others.

 The kids can’t 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. 

The management should carefully screen the house parents because many deviants will be applying for jobs that give them easy access to vulnerable children in the Philippines.

The Need for a National Sports Philosophy

Controversial National Academy of Sports Philippines 6 Concerns 5

Finally, this last part was contributed by Lyceum of Manila Sports Director Dean Hercules Callanta, who has advocated on several recent online forums the vital need for a National Sports Philosophy.
If properly founded and directed, the National Sports Academy will be a welcome change for Philippine Sports.

Its foundation must be a clearly stated and focused philosophy 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 towards winning medals in international competitions.

Whether stated or not, this is a very narrow focus and must be treated only as an elite sports philosophy.

The need for a national sports philosophy is paramount because the elite sports program will be anchored.

Concerning elite sports development, if it seeks to develop world-caliber athletes, it must consider the long process of world-class athlete development.

It should develop the whole individual toward high performance.

While and can source the talents from the regional and even national competitions, The Philippines must aim for their training and development at the bigger world stage.

They must not be allowed to revert to their regional or club competitions.

They must not be allowed to leave the training program temporarily because it will set their timetable back.

Participating in them will not be advantageous given the ‘topsy turvy ‘scheduling of Philippine sports competitions and their low level compared to international standards.

Instead, The Philippines should prime them 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 organizers should reserve the slots for the NSA only for the talented.

And their training should also include modular, goal-oriented education that develops 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. National Academy of Sports of the Philippines Questions
    1. How will that work?
    2. Who is qualified?
    3. Do students need to relocate to Tarlac away from their families?
    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 child’s psychological development if he has to dorm away from his family early? Will there be Psychologists, Guidance counselors?
    7. Vulnerable children, screening of staff to avoid pedophiles 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, you need even better coaches for UAAP to continue training the athletes.
    10. What are the National Academy of Sports’ purpose and objective, and how do they plan to achieve it?
    11. Where do athletes go after the NAS?

    Building the hardware infrastructure is essential, but the soft skills needed to succeed are crucial for 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 have a ZOOM Forum today. With a member of the DEPED to discuss the National Academy of Sports


Thursday 25th June 2:00 PM Manila Time.


We talk with Rosa Ligaya P. Calleja


OIC Chief, Special Curricular Programs Division, Bureau of Curriculum Development, Department of Education.


Regarding questions about the National Academy of Sports Philippines


Join the discussion on ZOOM and ask your questions to the #DEPED.


Register in advance for this meeting:


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

I also posted this on Facebook.

Having a reliable PE program in schools is more important than making an elite Sports academy at this point. 

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

In NZ and Australia, kids have 1 hour a day of physical activity either through organized sports or free play in Elem school. High school is 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, which bears merit as a good idea, and every province should have one. 

DepEd should put NAS on hold until DEPED can establish an excellent Physical education syllabus 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. Instead, they should be developing cross-motor skills rather than damaging repetitive movements that can lead to burning out.

 Also, as I think you mentioned before, Doc extended time away from their 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, the Senate passed bill 1086

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While this idea has some merit, it will train people for sports careers in admin, coaching, officiating, etc. Pinoyathletics will discuss why it’s a bad idea. It will badly impact 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 school 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 a bill seeking to create the Philippine High School for Sports on the third and final reading, which will help develop and train future Filipino athletes.

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

The students may choose their 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 particular emphasis on developing students’ athletic skills through subjects about 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 Philippine High School for Sports news and other related discussions on sports academies.
From my perspective, these academies’ efficacy exists on the right people, culture, and structures.
Hungary, a dynamic sporting nation that has won more Olympic medals than any other country that has never hosted the Games, doesn’t have a particular sports academy.

Hungary has a strong culture in Sports through a stable club system, united and one university sports federation, one umbrella organization for coaches’ education, and rigorous academics and research culture provided by the University of Physical Education Testnevelési Egyetem.
The slogan or thrust of the university is: “Uniting mind, strength, and morals.”
They believe that traditional positive values in sports must go hand in hand with innovative practices.

That’s why if we are 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 stylish 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 as 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 page-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 also have a huge part to play in this, especially Grassroot coaches, who 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 get from doing what they are doing is developing and nurturing athletes. 

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

Grass-root coaches are left to focus on the High school and elementary level. 

With the introduction of the K2-12, 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 creates an unfair advantage for the two regions with money to buy athletes.


National Academy of Sports Philippines

Establishing a National Academy of Sports Philippines makes the poachers’ job easier as someone else will do the poaching for them. 

grassroots coach in the province may not even get the satisfaction of developing high school-age athletes, as the national sports schools’ purpose is to get the region’s best athletes.

 These athletes will probably represent CLRAA, which will create an unfair stack along with NCR and STCAA.

How long will it 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 that private schools buy the athletes from the province to give NCR and STCAA an unfair advantage over the other 16 regions in the country.

What should happen is not allowing athletes who transfer regions to join the Palaro unless it’s 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 the Palaro level, and it creates an unfair advantage or deluge to an area such as NCR. Their 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 that 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.

Coaches such as Saturnino Salazar have taken on three schools in Pasig. These kids were allowed to represent their region against the deluge of athletes pouring in from the provinces, trying to represent NCR.

I posted that part I wrote in response to Airnel Talatala Abarra on the DEPED FB Page. Many 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 my 20k+ FB Followers and my 80,000 healthy mailing list are being informed about the National sports school.

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

Bringing a National Academy of Sports Philippines in CLRAA is a horrible idea.

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

That is undoubtedly 100% NOT GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY.

Ideally, the NAS should confine itself to just recruiting athletes in CLRAA. If they can’t recruit athletes from individual coaches, offer coaches support and help rather than just grab their athletes for the National Academy of Sports Philippines.


How coaches in provinces can be helped instead of the National Academy of Sports Philippines

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 ask 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 development are the keys.

And we are talking here of LGU taking charge; private schools and local Sports associations 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.

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

I worked in a sports academy in Zamboanga, 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.

My co-coaches commonly lost 1/2 to 2/3 of their athletes who quit due to being homesick mainly.

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 go home every two weeks in most cases.

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

The bottom line is Children Need Their Parents! They are athletes, but they are children first. I 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 overarching philosophy, the human resources, and structure are not there for this project.

These clear pathways, guidelines, and safety measures have not been well thought through for the National Academy of Sports Philippines. So 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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