Velasco calls for the creation of Philippine high school for sports

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco has urged his colleagues to approve a bill that would establish a high school that would specifically cater to sports.

Velasco, the next speaker of the House of Representatives has filed House Bill No. 4492 or The Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) System Act of 2019.

Introduced by Velasco, the bill seeks to develop sports in the country starting at the high school level.

Velasco said grassroots development of sports in the country is woefully lacking.

“The country, time and again, erupts in unison to celebrate the sports achievements of our homegrown athletes who brought home laurels for the Philippines despite the lack of a sustained sports development program,” Velasco said.

Velasco pointed out that the present public and private school educational system provide inadequate support to the gifted student-athlete and that public school student athletes may pursue their passion only through the Palarong Pambansa or the Philippine National Games that is, if they are talented enough to be recruited.

In terms of curriculum, physical education (PE) is consolidated with music, arts, and health in just one academic subject that translates to less time and focus devoted to sports.

The Marinduque solon maintained that while the Department of Education has identified one high school in each region as schools with a Special Program in Sports (SPS), there is no clear training program and selection criteria in place in public schools.

He said that the private school system provides more opportunities for exposure in sporting activities not only because PE is treated as a separate academic subject, but also because of the active development of varsity teams that participate in inter-school leagues across the country. But even student-athletes in private schools to experience academic difficulties due to the lack of time to study and complete projects.

“The time is ripe to discover and nurture these athletes and other potentially gifted athletes and provide adequate support for them by endowing them with sustained training and support starting at the high school level,” the lawmaker said.

The development of grassroots sports in the country is long overdue.

“In order to be able to compete internationally on a sustained level in different sports, a basic education program is needed that is focused and specialized for the youth who have the gifts and potential,” he said.

Velasco explained that his bill aims to establish and maintain a high school for student-athletes. He said the Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) will offer, on a scholarship basis, a secondary course with special emphasis on developing the athletic skills of the students through subjects pertaining to physical education and sports development.

The school will enable student-athletes to gain quality secondary education while ensuring opportunities for their continued training, exposure, and participation in relevant sports competitions.

At the same time, the school will help the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in training and developing future world-class national athletes, who will have improved training, better equipment, and adequate support because of their holistic development within PHSS.

The PHSS system also aims to provide the student-athletes with skills, which will make them employable immediately after high school.

Velasco noted that the State recognizes the role of the youth in nation-building, and also the importance of sports in the betterment of lives of Filipinos, as enshrined in Sections 13 and 17 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

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