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DOT CHARGES BORACAY TOURISTS WHO FAKED SWAB TESTS

The Department of Tourism has filed charges against six Manila-based tourists who were nabbed recently for falsifying the results of their COVID-19 swab tests.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat lauded the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the local government units of Aklan province and Malay municipality for reinforcing the regulations and health and safety protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force.

“This is how serious the DOT is in the enforcement of existing health and safety rules.”

“We will continue to be vigilant and ensure that these collaborative interventions will deter the entry of such delinquent and unwanted visitors. This is how serious the DOT is in the enforcement of existing health and safety rules,” Romulo-Puyat said.

The department also welcomed a DILG directive to the Philippine National Police to arrest and prosecute individuals who are forging their swab tests.

Under Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, those found tampering records, including official medical test results are meted out a penalty of PHP20,000 but not more than P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.

“The LGUs should tighten the registration procedure which involves, among others, validation of the submitted COVID-19 test results and hotel bookings.”

The DOT called on the LGUs to tighten the registration procedure which involves, among others, validation of the submitted COVID-19 test results and hotel bookings.

At present, there are about 10 to 12 validation and monitoring officers per shift on two shifts a day, seven days a week.

The officers verify the required documents before a QR code is given.

With the growing number of applications and visitors, along with difficulties in reaching the laboratory centers and hotels, the short validity of the test and the time given to book the flights, there is a high occurrence of issuing provisional QR codes which are validated at ports of entry.

“In anticipation of the further relaxation of regulations governing inter-and intra-regional movements, the LGUs should be prepared to address an increase in the number of applications and visits. Enforcement is key and we must all do our share in keeping Boracay safe,” the tourism chief stressed.

Boracay received 11,898 visitors in January 2021 alone, with an average 300 to 400 tourists a day. 

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