Filipino Dota 2 Players Stranded in Romania After TI10

by in Dota 2 | Oct, 20th 2021

It’s a horror story that no competitor wants to hear. There have seldom been instances of players being barred re-entry to their home country in esports, as the scene has yet to face any logistical or political barrier that would prevent esports competitors from returning home or receiving entry into different countries. However, COVID-19 has changed the world and made international athletic competitions challenging. 

Earlier this year, President Biden’s administration reimposed a travel ban on European countries, South Africa, Brazil, and the UK, leaving many international student athletes stranded this year, unable to return to their home countries. One such example of this was the case of swimmer Jeanri Buys, who could not return to her home country of South Africa after Biden reinstituted the travel ban. With third and fourth waves looking to overtake many countries such as Russia and Ukraine, travel to and from these countries may be impacted in the future, especially as the autumn-winter season descends on multiple parts of the world.

With COVID-19’s rise in Eastern Europe, and the recent COVID-19 outbreak that happened during the broadcast of TI10’s main event, players in Bucharest, Romania find themselves in an odd situation after TI10 that has unfortunately left some Filipino Dota 2 players stranded indefinitely in a foreign country with little recourse or solutions. 

Who’s Stuck in Romania and Why Can’t They Get Back Home to The Philippines?

According to a tweet posted by Eric Khor, team director for Fnatic’s Dota 2 team, all Filipino Dota 2 players are currently unable to return home to the Philippines. Some Filipino Dota 2 staff are also unable to return home. The following list contains players and staff who currently cannot return to the Philippines after attending TI10 in Bucharest, Romania.

  • Marc Polo Luis Fausto – DJ (Fnatic)
  • Djardel Jicko B. Mampusti – Raven (Fnatic)
  • Abed Azel L. Yusop – Abed (Evil Geniuses) 
  • Karl Matthew Baldovino – Karl (T1)
  • Carlo Palad – Kuku (T1)
  • Pao Bago – KillTheMage (Coach for Fnatic)

The Filipino players and staff are barred re-entry into the Philippines due to The Inter-Agency Task Force operating under the auspices of the Department of Health in the Philippines, releasing an updated Red, Yellow, and Green list of countries that the Philippines will accept travelers from. As of October 14, Romania remains the only country on the Philippines’ red list. Based on the restrictions on red countries and territories, all inbound international travel from Romania will not be allowed by the Filipino government, unless the travel is under government or non-government-initiated repatriation. 

According to the Philippine Airlines website, all travelers who have been to Romania in the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter the Philippines until October 31, implying that there’s no indefinite length on the current travel restrictions of travelers from Romania. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented that COVID-19 cases in Romania have spiked significantly during September-October, with cases increasing throughout October while TI10 was already underway. According to Reuters, Romania reported record numbers of daily deaths due to coronavirus infections on Tuesday, October 19. The COVID-19 situation in Romania is so severe that the Romanian government looks to appoint a new cabinet due to the current administration’s failings to inoculate its adult population adequately.

The failure of Romania to adequately vaccinate its population can be attributed to Romania’s infrastructural problems and lack of access to more rural populations. Many have also embraced some of the far-right conspiracies spreading about the COVID-19 vaccine, which caused such a social uproar that thousands took to the streets of Bucharest to protest new restrictions enacted to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The current situation for these Filipino Dota 2 TI10 players may be looking up as Pao Bago posted on his Twitter that he and the rest of the group stranded in Romania were receiving assistance from involved parties, including the Filipino consulates in Berlin and Budapest. 

Hopefully, these players will be able to return home sooner rather than later. 


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