Players engaged in a battle of strategy and skill during the Kalasag Esports Tournament.

14 June 2019 – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) showed its support to the Philippine esports scene through its hosting of the first-ever Kalasag Esports Tournament that coincided with the National ICT Month 2019 Kickoff Celebration.  

Aligned to this year’s National ICT month theme, See ICT Differently, the DICT conducted the tournament as a launching pad for its review of support and possible policymaking avenues that would further legitimize esport in the country and ensure that the Philippines could take full advantage of the growing industry.

In 2018, the eSports industry is projected to generate $905 million in revenue, reaching over $1 billion over the next two years.

At the end of the three-day competition featuring Mobile Legends, JOYparasaBayan, a team composed of Quezon City Government employees, ruled the 31-team field from different national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) as they emerged as Kalasag first-ever champions.

Matatag QC, another QC Hall squad, came in second while DICT’s Konektado Gaming – KTG and Department of Agriculture’s GG Gaming copped the semifinalist spots.

“We designed this to engage people in discussions on responsible gaming, and gather insights on policy considerations in the sector,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. said. “It is our proactive stance in supporting the industry and promoting a better culture of gaming in the country.”

Additionally, Rio said the three-year old Department worked together with various esports organizations, including those involved in organizing the esports competition in the upcoming South East Asian Games to be held in the country.

Commissioner Darren Vitug of The Nationals, the country’s franchise-based esports league, said the conduct of tournaments is one way of professionalizing esports in the Philippines. 

“The advent of professional esports teams, the rising market demand, and the potential of Filipinos in excelling in online and video games are some of the reasons why the time is ripe for esports to be classified as a professional game in the country,” Vitug said in his presentation on the lecture portion of the event.

Jules “Lex” Marcelo, a professional esports athlete, added that legitimizing esports should start with the gamer themselves. He advised players to maintain a healthy balance of work productivity and online gaming.

In closing, Assistant Secretary for Infostructure Management and Special Concerns Alan A. Silor acknowledged the Kalasag players: “We thank and give recognition to the support from the Kalasag players for the advancement of esports through their competitive spirit. It’s not all about the esports, it is more of game development and ICT infostructure support to the gaming industry,” he said. The Kalasag Esports Tournament was in partnership with Smart and PLDT Enterprise, and supported by Mobile Legends Esports for Everyone project.