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‘Arrest travelers presenting fake Covid tests’

President Rodrigo Duterte directed the Philippine National Police, Department of Tourism, and all local government units to enforce stringent compliance of protocols for local tourism and arrest those who present fake negative Covid-19 test results.

In a public address Monday night, Duterte told government agencies not to be afraid to file charges against travelers presenting falsified coronavirus test results, following recent reports of tourists arriving in various parts of the country, notably in Boracay, who were caught with fake reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests.

“Don’t do that because you will be compromised. Kindly check this twice over whether or not you have the genuine certificates,” Duterte said. “Arrest those presenting fake tests and enforce strict compliance of protocols of local tourism.”

On June 9, four more tourists bound for Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan were caught with counterfeit coronavirus tests and QR codes at Tabon Port in Caticlan.

“They were in addition to the seven who were apprehended last week,” Aklan Provincial Administrator and spokesperson for the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force, lawyer Selwyn Ibaretta, said in an interview.

Ibaretta said the four were caught presenting not just fake RT-PCR tests but also QR codes.

Before a tourist can secure the QR code, they first have to comply with the requirements, to include a negative RT-PCR result taken 72 hours before travel, a hotel reservation from an establishment accredited by the DOT, travel details, government-issued ID, and registration with the S-PaSS or Safe, Swift and Smart Passage online travel system.

Ibaretta said either the Malay Municipal Police Station or the DOT can file appropriate charges against the violators.*PNA

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