6 tourists face raps for falsifying swab test results to enter Boracay Island
ILOILO CITY –– The Department of Tourism (DOT) has filed charges against six tourists who submitted falsified swab test results to get to Boracay Island.
In a statement, Marc Judicpa of the DOT Boracay field office said the complaints about the falsification of public documents were filed at the Aklan Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in the capital town of Kalibo, Aklan, on Feb. 10.
Three of the six tourists from Metro Manila, who submitted falsified negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, turned out to be infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after they were apprehended in a hotel in Boracay and tested on Jan. 21.
Tourists bound for Boracay are required to submit a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours before arriving on the island.
They were issued provisional quick reaction codes while the test results were still being validated due to their flight schedule.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Aklan in December also filed criminal complaints against five tourists who also submitted falsified negative RT-PCR test results for violating Republic Act No. 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act) and falsification of documents.
Since the island began accepting tourists outside of Western Visayas on Oct. 1, around 100 tourists with falsified RT-PCR tests had been identified.
Many of them were intercepted at the Malay town mainland and before they were able to board their flights in Manila.
The municipality of Malay in Aklan, where Boracay Island is located, is set to pass a resolution declaring the 100 tourists, who submitted falsified negative RT-PCR test results, as “persona non grata,” according to municipal councilor Maylynn “Nenette” Aguirre-Graf.
Persona non grata technically pertains to diplomats or persons, who are declared undesirable and unwelcome in a country by its government.
But it has also been used loosely to describe anyone as personally unacceptable or unwelcome.
Graf, who chairs the council’s committees on tourism, said they were also studying the possibility of passing an ordinance that would impose a three-year ban on the island for those who submitted the falsified test results.
In December, tourist arrivals soared to 15,307, the highest since it resumed accepting tourists. It slightly dropped to 11,898 visitors in January and from February 1 to 14, visitors reached 7,543, according to data from the Malay municipal tourism office.
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