DILG orders PNP to arrest, prosecute tourists who fake COVID-19 tests | Inquirer News

DILG orders PNP to arrest, prosecute tourists who fake COVID-19 tests

/ 12:56 AM February 09, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday to arrest and prosecute tourists who fake their COVID-19 tests just to get to their destination.

“This is a crime and is punishable under our law. We are also warning those people planning to fake their test certifications. Don’t do it. Otherwise, we will make sure that you will be jailed,” Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr., the DILG officer-in-charge, said in a statement posted on the DILG website.

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“Let’s not be hard-headed,” Florece added in Filipino. “Have yourself tested for your own good, for your family, and for everyone.”

The DILG issued the statement after it was reported that six Metro Manila residents were blocked from entering Boracay Island last Jan. 21 when authorities found out that they had falsified their RT-PCR swab test results.

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Some tourism spots have opened again even as the pandemic continues — on the condition that tourists submit recent COVID-19 tests. Failure to do so would be a violation of the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Under that law, persons found guilty of tampering with their health records would be fined from P20,000 to P50,000 or face imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months — or both.

Just this Feb. 3, the Department of Tourism warned tourists who might be tempted to do the same of fines and imprisonment should they be convicted.

While no transmission has been detected in Boracay, three of the six tourists arrested on Jan. 21 tested positive for COVID-19.

Florece said that it was a good thing that the tourists were blocked, but he also pondered on what would have happened if they had slipped through.

He also stressed that what happened in Boracay should be avoided and should serve as a call for both PNP and local governments to intercept these individuals.

“If these three people who tested positive for COVID were able to enter Boracay, there would have been a bigger problem, more people would be affected by your foolishness,” he said.

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TAGS: Bernardo Florece, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), fake COVID-19 test results, quarantine violations, Tourists
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