Stiffer penalties for faking COVID-19 test results sought
MANILA, Philippines — A House leader is pushing for the imposition of stiffer penalties for individuals found deliberately lying or falsifying their COVID-19 test results.
Under House Bill No. 8643 filed by Deputy Speaker and Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian, any individual proven to have falsified any COVID test results — whether reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab, rapid antigen, or saliva test results — shall be imprisoned for a minimum of six years and one day to a maximum of 12 years.
Those convicted shall also be fined P1 million, the bill states.
Gatchalian’s bill amends Republic Act No. 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, to include the falsification of COVID-19 test results.
“Falsification per se is not the issue here, but the corresponding risks it poses for public safety,” Gatchalian said.
“Though falsification of COVID-19 test results may seem like a trivial procedural matter to some it may actually and recklessly endanger the lives of the people these offenders may interact or come into contact with,” he added.
Under the current law, persons found guilty of tampering with their health records would be fined P20,000 to P50,000 or face imprisonment of at least one to six months, or both.
“Given how contagious and deadly the novel coronavirus is, it is only appropriate that stiffer punishments be imposed on anyone who knowingly fakes COVID-19 test results,” Gatchalian said.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) earlier filed a complaint for falsification of documents against six tourists from Manila who forged their Covid-19 swab test results to enter Boracay Island in January.
Three of the six tourists were found to be infected with the new coronavirus.
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