POC supports sports academy plan

POC supports sports academy plan
By: Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr. recently expressed his full support for the plan to create a Philippine Academy of Sports (PHAS) and designated secretary-general Steve Hontiveros and board member Cynthia Carrion to coordinate with project head Fr. Tito Caluag and executive director Sebastian Ripoll in working together to make it happen.

Cojuangco said he, too, is coordinating with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia in conceptualizing a world-class National Training Center (NTC) for elite athletes. He mentioned that Antipolo Mayor Jun Ynares is recommending the use of a 1,500-hectare property in Rizal for the NTC. Cojuangco said the PHAS may be set up in the same site. Another possible location is in the Clark development zone in Angeles City. Cojuangco said the POC received a $50,000 grant from the Olympic Council of Asia to formulate a plan for the NTC.

Fr. Caluag said there is a 10-hectare property in Sta. Rosa which is being considered as the PHAS site for a National Campus but will look into the suggestion of building alongside the proposed NTC. The PHAS will initially take in 150 student athletes for Grade 11 in 2015 and expand to 300 when the initial batch advances to Grade 12 the next year. It is likely that several student athletes will wind up in the national elite pool to be quartered in the NTC. As a start, the PHAS will focus on four sports– basketball, football, athletics and taekwondo. A full-time faculty will be assigned at the PHAS boarding school with the hours split between classroom and training hours.

Fr. Caluag, a Department of Education consultant, said the creation of the PHAS is in tune with the implementation of the K-to-12 program which promotes continuity from kindergarten to high school. He said the PHAS blueprint will be aligned with the Palarong Pambansa objectives.

Sen. Pia Cayetano will file a bill for a National Campus, added Fr. Caluag. Architect Bong Recio has already submitted a plan for it. Fr. Caluag recently met with Department of Education undersecretaries Alberto Muyot and Mario Deriquito to discuss legal matters and external linkages. He is scheduled to meet undersecretaries Francisco Varela and Dina Ocampo-Cristobal next week on program and finance issues.

Last December, Sen. Cayetano provided a P3 Million fund that was turned over to the Department of Education to cover the transportation, accommodations and food for the training of coaches and teachers from pilot regional academies. Fr. Caluag was also able to secure a grant from the British Council that led to a two-year consultancy agreement with Leeds Metropolitan University to develop a coaches’ education program and a sports curriculum to serve as the career pathway for the K-to-12 sports track.

The pilot regional academies are the Rizal High School in Pasig, Abellana National High School in Cebu and General Santos City High School. They were chosen from 17 public schools offering the Special Program.