DOT: Fake COVID test results undermine efforts to keep Boracay safe
In this October 2020 file photo, tourists are roaming around white sand beaches of Boracay island.
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

DOT: Fake COVID test results undermine efforts to keep Boracay safe

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - December 9, 2020 - 12:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism has condemned the falsification of COVID-19 test results by six tourists from Luzon who entered Boracay island on Monday.

The Malay police nabbed the tourists for violating Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and Republic Act 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,  for submitting counterfeit documents.

Reports said the tourists were brought to the Aklan Training Center, the province’s COVID-19 facility in Barangay Old Buswang in Kalibo, Aklan. They will undergo the mandatory swab test and will be quarantined for 14 days.

The DOT, also the co-vice chair of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, has been implementing a “test before travel” policy in tourist destinations that have opened to the public during the pandemic.

Boracay is among the first tourist destination to open its borders to local tourists as it officially welcomed tourists from General Community Quarantine areas last October.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat commended the Aklan provincial police for its swift action in dealing with the suspects.

Puyat said that similar malicious actions “will not be condoned as they undermine the collaborative efforts at protecting and reviving Boracay tourism.”

Last week, Puyat announced its partnership with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital to partly subsidize the cost of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or the RT-PCR test worth P1,800 per kit for Boracay-bound tourists to make travel to the island affordable.

The subsidy will come from DOT’s marketing arm, Tourism Promotion Board.

Meanwhile, data from the Malay municipal tourism office showed that a total of 4,154 tourists visited Boracay in November.

On the other hand, a total of 1,646 tourists arrived on the island via Caticlan port from December 1 to 5. Of which, 965 are from the National Capital Region.

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