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DOT Statement on Coron tourist with falsified travel documents

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is saddened by yet another case of falsification of travel documents, this time by a Quezon City resident who arrived in Coron, Palawan on March 9. The 24-year-old male tourist was confirmed COVID-19 positive by the Quezon City Surveillance Team (QCST) and this information was relayed to the local government of Coron the following day.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat lauds the prompt coordination between the QCST and the local government of Coron resulting in the early detection and contact tracing.

On March 13, the Coron Emergency Operations Center reported that “all first generation contacts of the positive tourist were all tested and are negative using the RT-PCR test conducted by Culion Sanitarium, and General Hospital Molecular Laboratory. While all secondary contacts were also tested and are negative using the antigen test by the Municipal Health Office.”

Meanwhile, the DOT Region IV-B has recommended imposition of the appropriate penalty on the errant tourist.

As mandated under Republic Act (RA) No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, tampering of documents and records issued by the public health authorities is a crime punishable by penalties amounting from Php 20,000 to 50,000 or imprisonment of one to six months or both.

The DOT likewise banks on the recent directive of the President to the police and military establishments to arrest perpetrators – tourists and testing centers alike.  This strengthens the related order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued earlier.

The tourism chief likewise encourages tourists to avail of the fifty percent subsidized RT-PCR test at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) for only Php 900.

The DOT reiterates the full cooperation of the general public to uphold minimum public health and safety standards. Tourists and host communities alike are enjoined to practice mindful and responsible tourism to help strengthen recovery efforts.

Published:March 26, 2021

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