Boracay tourists charged for forging COVID test results
Marje Pelayo • February 15, 2021 • 291
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has filed charges against six Manila-based tourists who were nabbed in January 2021 for falsification of public documents after presenting fake COVID-19 swab test results in an attempt to enter Boracay Island.
Marc Judicpa of the DOT Region VI-Boracay Field and Compliance Monitoring Office (BFCMO) filed the complaint against the errant tourists.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo said such legal action should serve as warning to others and stressed that the agency will continue to be vigilant to ensure that these collaborative interventions will deter entry of such delinquent and unwanted visitors in the enforcement of existing health and safety protocols.
The DOT welcomes the directive from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to execute the arrest and prosecution of individuals who are forging their RT-PCR tests.
The DILG reiterated that it is a crime punishable under Republic Act (RA) No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act which provides for penalties 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.
Furthermore, the DOT draws emphasis to the importance of tightening the registration procedure for tourists to curb the spread of COVID-19 and other variants.
These involve, among others, validation of the submitted COVID test results and hotel bookings before a QR code is given for validation 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,” the Secretary added.
Boracay received 11,898 visitors in January 2021 alone, with an average 300 to 400 tourists a day.
Meanwhile, the DOT Region VI-BFCMO will continue to work closely with the local government units (LGUs) of Aklan and Malay to ensure enforcement of minimum health and safety protocols at the DOT-accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) and other tourism enterprises (TEs) and in the island, in general.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Wednesday (April 14) that a temporary mobile hospital and a drive-thru vaccination site will soon rise at the Rizal Park in Manila.
Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat confirmed the plan in response to the proposal of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso to establish a temporary mobile hospital at the Burnham Green of Rizal Park.
The proposal was agreed by the Board of Directors of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Domagoso made such a request for a temporary mobile hospital in Rizal Park “in anticipation of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases” in the city.
The city mayor committed to design, construct, maintain, and manage the hospital “up to its logical conclusion,” at no cost to the national government.
Domagoso also promised to restore the Burnham Green area where the hospital will be constructed, back to its original condition.
Likewise, the Board also approved the construction of a temporary drive-thru vaccination site at the Independence Road (Parade Grounds) of the Quirino Grandstand, also under the management of the NPDC.
The temporary drive-thru vaccination site will be located beside the drive-thru RT-PCR testing facility managed by the City of Manila together with NPDC.
Secretary Puyat said that the mobile hospital will be open to everyone and will cater to patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
Meanwhile, the temporary drive-thru vaccination site to be built at the Parade Grounds of Quirino Grandstand is expected to accommodate 350 to 400 individuals for vaccination per day.
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Tourism (DOT) has reiterated its stance on implementing stricter health protocols to prevent mass “super spreader” events in Boracay.
The department said it is closely coordinating with local officials and tourism establishments on the island to ensure a stricter implementation of health and safety protocols.
“The DOT reiterates that the safety of tourism destinations such as Boracay is a shared responsibility among the government, community members, businesses, and visitors,” the department said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the DOT also commended the Municipal Government of Malay for its swift action to issue a Memorandum to Conduct an Investigation to concerned business establishments.
It also reminds tourists to be responsible and to observe minimum health standards such as wearing masks and face shields, practice frequent and proper handwashing, and ensure physical distancing at all times. –AAC
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