By Rey Anthony Chiu | 10:08 AM October 23, 2021
If before, getting caught with bogus documents to get to Bohol simply means an outright refusal to board the vessels, this time, the implications of using ‘doctored’ documents to cross to Bohol entails heavier penalties.
The penalties for getting caught with a fake or ‘doctored’ Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test result, bogus vaccination certificate, and fake s-pass is P5,000, a forced quarantine for 5 days at a Department of Tourism-accredited quarantine facility at the violator’s expense, plus the cost of the mandatory RT-PCR on the fifth day of quarantine.
The violator could even pay more, if the RT PCR test result turns positive, and a longer quarantine would be required until his swab test results are negative, at least according to Executive Order No 52, series of 2021.
The provision on section 6 of EO No. 52, series which was signed October 22 however, could be a tough order to implement.
“Could the EO be effective outside Bohol?” asks an observer who read the new EO signed by Governor Arthur Yap.
When those caught faking documents are still in other provinces and are about to cross to Bohol, how could they board the vessels to Bohol?” he continued.
During the Bohol Inter Agency Task Force on the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (BIATF EID), Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Officer Anthony Damalerio cited that reports saying that close to 500 fake RT-PCRs have been confiscated.
Damalerio, who also acknowledged the invaluable efforts or the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard as partners in border control added that faking documents required for entry to Bohol is not only through the RT PCR.
Even the s-pass is being faked, if only to slip through to Bohol.
At the report, San Miguel Mayor Atty. Virgilio Mendez, who was instrumental in the arrest of a fake RT-PCR syndicate in Cebu calls the information as worrisome and very disturbing.
Asked what were the actions taken against those who were caught presenting fake documents, Damalerio said the perpetrators were disallowed entry into the vessel and refused to board.
EO No 52, incidentally has lifted the requirements for the negative RT PCR and the s-pass registration for fully vaccinated incoming travelers.
Instead of the above documentary requirements needed for entry to Bohol, the vaccination certificate, according to the national IATF on Resolution No. 143 should suffice.
As fears of faking the vaccination certificate becomes the object or future controversy, the EO clarifies that the vaccination certificate to be used for travel entry to locations is the digitally validated and authenticated document generated by the vaxcert.doh.gov.ph.
This digitally printed document from the DOH’s online facility, when presented at the border crossing, would be authenticated by an online verifier: VaxCertPHVerifier, a mobile phone app that facilitates real-time verification.
At this, Department of Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Jerome Gonzales hinted that this should be hard to fake.
He added that the facility at present however is catering to foreign nationals and a few domestically vaccinated individuals, and that it would speed up with its online database when the local government units can upload their vaccination records. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)