At the eleventh hour, all three Taiwanese guest cosplayers for the upcoming Best of Anime 2019 have collectively cancelled their appearance.
Chihiro, King TW, and Momo have expressed their regrets in separate official statements posted to their respective Facebook pages tonight. The three cosplayers have cited concerns regarding the application of their visas for entry to the Philippines.
UPDATE (August 30, 2019 – 11:56PM) – The Best of Anime Facebook page has released an official statement. Refunds will be provided for those who availed the fanmeet tickets for the three guests. Winners of the fanmeet ticket raffle will be awarded a replacement fanmeet access to the other guests appearing in the event.
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Per their official statements, all three cosplayers have initially stipulated in their contracts that the event organizer for Best of Anime should process or at least provide assistance in the processing of their visas or working permits for entry to the Philippines, to which the organizer agreed upon. The three guests cited untoward, albeit lawbreaking, incidents in the past that stemmed from visas/work permits not being processed. In their statements, no work permits or visas were sent from the side of the Best of Anime representatives, although they and the organizer communicated regarding the processing of papers. The guests waited until mere hours before their flights for a visa or permit to arrive, but to no avail.
Per the Immigration.gov.ph website, Special Work Permits for Artists and Athletes may be issued for visitors performing their craft or sport in the Philippines and is staying for less than six (6) months. Likewise, a Special Work Permit (Commercial) may also be applied for foreigners seeking “gainful employment” for a span of 3-6 months time.
Work permit aside, Taiwanese nationals travelling to the Philippines must apply for an entry permit through the Electronic Travel Authorization system from the Manila Economic and Cultural Office website, for a maximum stay of 30 days upon arrival. Otherwise, Visa Upon Arrival may also be applied, since the three guests may fall under the condition as delegates to conventions/exhibitions, which will grant a single-entry visa valid for a 30-day stay.
We have reached out to the Best of Anime organizers for a statement, but have yet to receive a reply.
Further, their refunds policy specific to this type of situation has yet to be instituted.