The Department of Tourism said Monday it filed falsification charges against six tourists who faked their COVID-19 test results to enter Boracay Island following uproar over travelers lying about their health status.
The complaint was filed by Marc Judicpa of the Department of Tourism Boracay Field and Compliance Monitoring Office, the agency said.
"This is how serious the DOT is in the enforcement of existing health and safety rules,” Tourism Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
The tourists were arrested in January for falsification of public documents. Boracay requires tourists to present a negative RT-PCR test result.
The incident triggered public uproar and prompted the Malay town council to work on a resolution to declare swab test fakers as persona non-grata.
Fakers of COVID-19 test results were also warned of possible arrest since the Department of the Interior and Local Government said 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.
Doing so could lead to fines of up to P50,000 and imprisonment of up to six months, the DILG said.
As travel restrictions are continuously eased across the country, the tourism chief also reminded local authorities of the importance of validating submitted COVID-19 test results by tourists as well as hotel bookings.
“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," Puyat said.
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