Filipino Dota 2 players may no longer have to face travel restrictions as part of their journey to the ONE Esports Singapore Major, following a revised travel ruling released by the country's Department of National Defense and the National Task Force Against COVID19. The circular, dated March 18, 2021, has now allowed the return of non-OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) to the country starting March 20 until April 19, 2021, which had been earlier suspended. However it also stated that during the period from March 22 to April 21, the travel of Filipinos and exempted foreign nationals shall be subject to the arrival quota set by the Department of Transportation. It is unclear if this is the same quota of 1,500 arrivals per day as stipulated in an earlier circular published by the Task Force dated March 16, 2021. Filipino players in teams like Neon Esports, T1, Fnatic, and Evil Geniuses, who are set to the Singapore Major from 27 March - 4 April, are directly affected by these updates.
Filipino Dota 2 players' Singapore Major travel hurdles partially solved
The new directive of the National Task Force of the Philippines has allowed all national citizens, including the non-OFW ones, to return to the country.
The initial health notice by the Philippines on March 16, 2021, had created problems for teams like Neon Esports because only overseas Filipinos were allowed entry into the country. This circular also mentioned a quota of 1,500 inbound international passengers/arrivals per day with exclusions for certain categories of travelers.
As a consequence of this notice, though there were no restrictions on leaving the country and all players could easily reach Singapore, there were issues in coming back as they could not return until April 19 at the earliest. This was also in contradiction to the rules of the Major which state that a team needs to leave for its country as soon as it gets eliminated.
Neon Esports had been posting updates on Twitter regarding the developments in this case for the past three days. They had mentioned on March 18 that they were in talks with a PH government agency to give them a special case with regards to their return.
However, with the new amendments, the team seems optimistic about traveling to the Singapore Major.
It would be a massive disappointment if the SEA teams - Neon Esports, Fnatic and T1 (all of which have Filipino players) are unable to travel to the first DPC Major in 14 months, and that too being conducted in the SEA region itself. The Major is expected to bring some fresh cross-region Dota 2 action and it will be intriguing to see how these SEA teams pan out against the top dogs from EU, China, CIS, NA, and SA.
Correction Note: An earlier version of this story confirmed with certainty that Filipino Dota 2 players would be able to travel to the major. In light of the uncertainty around the quota of 1,500 passengers per day, we have edited this story accordingly.