Two individuals were apprehended in El Nido town on Tuesday upon arrival for entering the town using tampered RT-PCR test results. They are facing possible criminal charges from local authorities.
Two females, both Filipinos, reportedly admitted to authorities that they changed the validity date of their results in order to match it to the date of their flight and are currently under quarantine.
Their case had been referred to the El Nido Municipal Police Station (MPS).
El Nido Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) chief and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) manager Raymond Osorio told Palawan News on Thursday that screening officials detected the falsification when the date printed on their test results did not match the date in the documents’ QR codes.
The QR codes contained the original validity of the test results, which was stated that the tests were issued on February 13 and valid only until February 15. However, the suspects arrived on February 16 and changed the printed dates to match it to their flight date.
“Sumulat naman ang laboratory nila na nagkamali lang daw ang staff nila na ilagay ang date, supposedly dapat daw [ibang] date. Pero andoon naman sa QR code, hindi naman nagsisinungaling ang QR code. Kasi kung 13 [ang test result], dumating sila noong Martes, more than 72 hours na [ang test result]. ‘Yong date kasi hindi nagpantay na nasa original [sa QR code],” he said.
El Nido chief of police P/Maj. Analyn Palma stated that they are still waiting for original copies of the suspects’ RT-PCR results to officially file falsification of document charges. However, because of the current health crisis, their failure to truthfully declare their health status will warrant a violation of the Law on Reporting Communicable Diseases.
“One thing sure [is] RA 11332, the act known as the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases which is Section 9, Paragraph (b), tampering of record or [intentionally providing mis]information,” said Palma.
“This is not just only the decision of the PNP and tourism but the whole. We are looking into it kung ano ang magiging penalty ng mga ito, because as of yesterday very apologetic naman humihingi ng tawad at inaamin naman nila ang kanilang pagkakamali,” she added.
(With reports from Aira Genesa Magdayao, Celesta Anna R. Formoso, Arphil Ballarta, and Patricia Laririt)