The Department of the Interior and Local Government yesterday issued a stern warning to individuals faking reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as it directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) “to prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law”.
DILG officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. said fakers of RT-PCT tests, once caught, will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. He said the PNP must ensure that all perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice.
“The DILG directs the PNP to arrest and prosecute individuals who are forging their RT-PCR tests. This is a crime and is punishable under our law. We are also warning those people planning to fake their test certifications. Huwag n’yo na pong gawin at kung hindi, sisiguraduhin po namin na makukulong kayo (Don’t do it or else you’ll get imprisoned),” he said.
“Huwag po tayong matigas ang ulo. Magpa-test po tayo para sa kabutihan niyo, ng inyong pamilya, at ng lahat (Don’t be hardheaded. Get tested for your own good, your family, and everyone),” he added.
Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act provides for penalties of P20,000 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.
Section 1-b under the Prohibited Acts of RA 11332 stipulates that “tampering of records relating to notifiable diseases or health events of public health concern, which includes official medical test results or medical certificates, or such other documents and records issued by public health authorities” is punishable by law.
Florece said the PNP must be vigilant in guarding entry points of tourists and travelers to ensure that people are abiding by the standards set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the local government unit and are compliant with minimum health standards.
“Iniiwasan natin na maulit ang nangyari sa Boracay na nakapasok ang mga turista na may pekeng RT-PCR tests kaya naman kailangan itong pangunahan ng PNP at ng pamahalaang lokal (We do not want to happen again like what some tourists who faked their RT-PCR tests did in Boracay. The PNP and the LGU have to take the lead on this),” he said.
Six Metro Manila residents were barred from entering Boracay Island after presenting fake RT-PCR test certifications. Later on, three of these individuals tested positive for Covid-19.
“Kung nakapasok ang tatlong ito na nagpositibo sa Covid sa Boracay ay mas malaking problema, mas madami pang madadamay sa kalokohan ninyo (If these three who tested positive for Covid entered Boracay, it’s going to be a bigger problem because many others will get sick because of their stubbornness),” Florece added.
He said opening tourism sites is not an excuse for tourists to fake their way to a vacation. He said that Filipinos should not forget that tourism is slowly being opened but minimum health standards and IATF protocols must still be strictly observed.
“Nakikiusap po kami sa ating mga kababayan, makiisa po tayo, hindi pa po tapos ang pandemya, mahaba pa po ito. We must cooperate or else nakahanda po ang PNP at ang mga pamahalaang lokal na kayo ay arestuhin (We appeal to our countrymen to cooperate. The pandemic is still here. The PNP and the LGU will arrest you once you do not cooperate),” he said.*PR/PNA