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DOT files raps vs. tourists who faked swab test results

The Tourism Department is calling for tightened registration procedures, validation of the submitted Covid-19 test results, and hotel bookings*

The Department of Tourism has filed charges against the six Manila-based tourists nabbed last month for falsification of swab test results.

In a news release yesterday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat lauded the Department of the Interior and Local Government 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.

“We will continue to be vigilant and ensure that these collaborative interventions will deter 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 a penalty 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.

The DOT called on the LGUs to tighten the registration procedure that 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 time given to book the flights, there is high occurrence of issuing provisional QR codes that 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,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Boracay had 11,898 visitors last month, with an average of 300 to 400 tourists a day.*PR

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