Esports players are athletes - Philippine government

Esports players are athletes - Philippine government

The Philippine government officially recognized esports as real sports. The players are now treated as athletes and can get an athletic license.

The Gaming and Amusements Board (GAB), which is under the Office of the President, will now allow esports players to secure a legitimate athletic license valid in the Philippines.

Ermar Benitez, GAB's chief legal counsel, affirmed that the board started working on this issue since July 2017, to help out teams such as TNC Pro Team and Execration, that participated at The International 7.

TNC at The International 6 and 7

In 2016, TNC Pro Team had problems taking part at The International 6 in Seattle, Washington, US because a P1 visa was indispensable. P1 visa is a type of temporary employment visa, granted to athletes, artists, and entertainers to participate in an event in the US.

TNC asked the help of Sen. Bam Aquino, a famous supporter of esports, and only thanks to him they could take part at the grand Dota 2 tournament. They obtained the top 8 and a prize of $519,262, after defeating strong teams such as OG and VG Reborn in the playoffs.

TNC’s performance was remarkable also at TI7, where they earned the top 12 and a $370,319 prize.

How to get an esports license

Esports athletes looking for a license need vouching from a professional gaming team. The applicants must pay a small fee, pass a drug test, and finally GAB will also look into their track records.

The licenses aren’t limited to Dota 2 players, but are open to any esports.

Image: Ronel F. Tan - HOTS athlete

Image: Ronel F. Tan - HOTS athlete

The immediate benefit at this point is recognition, not just by the Philippine government but by other governments and the public as well.

When players compete abroad, they can proudly say that they are recognized as such by their country.
— GAB's chief legal counsel - Ermar Benitez
Filipino e-gamers have tremendous talent and potential to conquer the global gaming arena.

We hope to continue developing the eSports industry in the Philippines and supporting our professional gamers as they represent the Philippines.
— Sen. Bam Aquino


Source: ABS-CBN - Header image by Julius Mariano


Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.