DepEd to schools, associations: ‘Student-athlete is a student first’

Published December 15, 2021, 7:32 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education (DepEd) reminded schools or associations that intend to offer benefits or incentives to student-athletes that they should be guided by the principle that a “student-athlete is a student first.”

(File photo from DepEd)

“Such benefits or incentives shall seek to ensure that the student-athlete attains quality education while honing his/her skill and reaching his/her full potential as an athlete in an amateur sports training,” said Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones in a statement issued Wednesday, Dec. 15, as she emphasized the need for concerned agencies to champion the welfare and protection of Filipino student-athletes.

In an effort to ensure the welfare and protection of student-athletes nationwide, DepEd has also released a policy directing compliance to Republic Act No. 10676 that regulates the residency requirement and prohibits commercialization of student-athletes.

The DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in consultation with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), issued an Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for RA 10676 or the “Student-Athletes Protection Act,” which covers all public and private basic education schools, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs), and athletic associations.

“With this IRR, we will be able to ensure that our student-athletes keep their amateur status and that they are protected from commercial exploitation,” Briones said.

“This IRR specifically upholds the rights and welfare of our student-athletes, assuring that they will be able to maximize their skills and potential in their respective fields of amateur sports without neglecting education and well-being,” she added.

DepEd said that with the law in effect, student-athletes enrolling or transferring in another junior/senior high school, a college, or university “will not be required to render residency.”

Moreover, DepEd noted that the student’s current school is “prohibited from reimbursing scholarship benefits and other incentives given.”

DepEd said that the school is likewise directed to “release school records, grades, clearances, and eligibility for transfer at the behest of the student-athlete and is prohibited to impose other forms of sanctions.”

Under the IRR, DepEd said that schools may also grant incentives and benefits to deserving student-athletes.

These include tuition and miscellaneous school fees; full board and lodging; school and athletic uniforms including supplies, equipment, and paraphernalia; medical services, life, and medical insurance; and a regular monthly living allowance or other monetary considerations that are within the standards set by the athletic association where the school belongs.

DepEd added that schools, athletic associations, and all other entities are also “barred from offering student-athletes or the immediate family members benefits or incentives, which are contrary to the nature of amateur sports and may result in commercialization.”