Cyber athletes barred from leaving; Bam Aquino wants probe
Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV yesterday asked the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to explain why they stopped three Filipino cyber athletes from leaving for South Korea where they were supposed to join and train for some big international competitions.
In a statement, Aquino said the three-member Team Rave, which recently landed in sixth spot in the DotA 2 Asian championships, was barred from boarding a South Korea-bound flight last Saturday for supposedly not having the proper travel documents.
Team Rave is made up of Mark “Cast” Pilar, Djardel “Chrissy” Mampusti and Ryo “ryOyr” Hasegawa. They won $150,000 in the recent DotA 2 Asian championships.
“They have traveled several times to South Korea using the same documents they presented in the past without any hitch. Suddenly, they were barred from leaving without any valid reason,” Aquino said.
He said the team lost its chance to join two events in Bucharest and to train for other competitions.
Aquino’s office had been helping out Team Rave “as support for the growth of the community and development of the e-industry in the country.”
“Government should be able to provide an environment where our athletes, online or offline, be able to hone their skills, compete in world class competitions, and give honor and pride to our country,” the senator said.
The BI has been besieged by complaints from the Internet gaming community over the issue.