Faking a COVID-19 test result can lead to arrest, the Department of the Interior and Local Government warned Monday following uproar over reports of tourists lying about their status to enter Boracay.
It is illegal to fake a COVID-19 test as provided under the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, DILG Usec. Bernardo Florece, Jr. said as he warned that doing so could lead to fines of up to P50,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.
"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,” he said in a statement.
"Huwag po tayong matigas ang ulo. Magpa-test po tayo para sa kabutihan nyo, ng inyong pamilya, at ng lahat," he added.
Among the prohibited acts under the law are "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."
Last week, three tourists were blocked from entering Boracay Island after they were found to have fake test documents. They were moved to Kalibo in mainland Panay Island for the mandatory 14-day quarantine, said acting Malay Mayor Floribar Bautista.
The incident has prompted the Malay town council to work on a resolution to declare swab test fakers as persona non-grata.
"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," Florece said.
While top tourist spots across the country have carefully reopened to visitors, strict COVID-19 protocols remain in place such as RT-PCR test result requirements.
Authorities also appealed to the public to follow local rules when traveling and observe minimum health standards at all times as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.