In Boracay, 2 more nabbed over fake COVID-19 test results
The prospect of facing criminal complaints has not deterred some Boracay-bound tourists from submitting falsified negative test results for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) so they can enjoy a break on the resort island in Aklan province.
On Monday afternoon, two male tourists, age 50 and 28, from Metro Manila were accosted as they arrived at Godofredo P. Ramos Airport at Barangay Caticlan in Malay town.
Selwyn Ibarreta, Aklan provincial administrator and head of the provincial COVID-19 Technical Working Group, said the tourists were taken to the provincial quarantine center in the capital town of Kalibo and would undergo swab tests.
They will face criminal complaints for violating Republic Act No. 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act) and falsification of documents.
Ibarreta said the tourists submitted negative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results, supposedly issued by a hospital in Metro Manila, before they boarded their plane.
While the test results were being verified, the tourists insisted on being issued quick reaction (QR) codes to be allowed entry to Boracay as their flight was about to leave Metro Manila.Aklan officials issued the QR codes on condition that the test results would be verified. The results were later confirmed to be falsified although the tourists were already on their way to Caticlan, according to Ibarreta.
He said 12 other tourists were also found to have submitted falsified test results before Christmas but they were prevented from boarding their flights to Caticlan.
Earlier this month, six tourists were fetched from their hotel in Boracay and taken to the provincial quarantine center in Kalibo after authorities discovered that five of them had submitted falsified RT-PCR test results, which were based on a genuine document.
They tested negative for the disease and were eventually released from the quarantine unit. They are, however, facing criminal complaints in the provincial prosecutor’s office.
More than 2,500 tourism front-line workers in Boracay would be given free COVID-19 tests as part of efforts to keep the island safe from COVID-19 amid the surge in tourist arrivals, which hit 12,000, this month.The testing is funded by the Department of Tourism which allocated P10 million through the Tourism Promotion Board.
According to Ibarreta, the Aklan and Malay governments expect to complete the testing, which started on Dec. 26, by next week.
Ibaretta said nine three-member teams would conduct the tests on workers in hotels, resorts and restaurants this week. The focus next week will be on crew members of motorboats, tricycle drivers and those engaged in water activities like island-hopping.
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