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Philippine High School for Sports

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 Sports Academy.

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 Sports Academy.
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 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. In high school its an hour of organized sports int 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 cellphone 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 its 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 sport academy but has a strong culture in Sports through a solid club system, united and one university sport 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 Philippine High School for Sports, 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!

Philippine High School 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 Grass-Root 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 there athletes at the college level when the athletes went off to Manila for NCAA and UAAP. 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.

Philippine High School for Sports

Now with the establishment of a National Sports High School, it makes the job of the poachers easier as someone else is going to do the poaching for them. Now a grass-root 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 its 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 there 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 there 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.

Philippine High School for Sports Why it’s a bad idea?

Bring in a national sports school in CLRAA is a horrid idea. It will just encourage 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. 

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

Children being away from parents for pro-longed periods of time

I worked in a sports academy in Zamboanga. 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 there 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 NAS situation, they won’t be able to go home every 2 weeks in most cases. How is the NAS 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.


Andrew is an ATFS Statiscian in Athletics with a wide range of knowledge in measurable sports. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And is current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Currently, he is coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.

He can be contacted on [email protected]

By Andrew Pirie

Andrew is an ATFS Statiscian in Athletics with a wide range of knowledge in measurable sports. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And is current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Currently, he is coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. He can be contacted on [email protected]

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