DotA team blames immigration officers for loss

An e-sports team representing the Philippines in an international DotA tournament blamed immigration officers at the airport for their loss.

Team Rave, a group of Filipino cyber athletes, lost in an electronic sports league qualifier for Defense of the Ancients held in Incheon, South Korea.

Three of its members were apprehended by Immigration officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after they failed to show an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), ABS-CBN News reports.

Not wanting to lose their chance in the competition, the team was forced to play using slow internet connection in the country. Having high-speed internet is important for DotA players to win especially in an international battle.

"The three passengers travelling under Filipino passports carried Korean E-6 visas, which is a working visa issued for those who are seeking to make profit through entertainment, sports and the like," said Atty. Elaine Tan, spokesperson of the Bureau of Immigration, in an official statement released by BI.

Holders of this type of visa need to secure an OEC from the POEA. However, in a post on Twitter, POEA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said "athletes, including cyber gamers, are exempted from securing a POEA clearance."

Former immigration officer Atty. Mary Ann Ojeda-Isidro, who serves as counsel for Team Rave, agreed that the immigration officers were at fault for the apprehension, pointing out:

"They are there to compete, so it matches the E-6 visa. It does not automatically make them an OFW [overseas Filipino worker]."

Meanwhile, the BI reportedly said it is coordinating with the POEA to prevent similar situations in the future.

"We are coordinating with the POEA to make the process easier for the public, so as not to cause any inconvenience to the travelers. Right now, we must implement the guidelines."