Punishable by law: Baguio City gov’t warns public vs fake COVID-19 vaccination cards

July 23, 2021 - 1:27 PM
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COVID-19 vaccination in Quezon City
Quezon City health workers are busy putting tamper-proof security seals into the vaccination cards at the city hall on July 10, 2021. (The STAR/Boy Santos)

A provincial chief executive warned the public against persons offering fake COVID-19 vaccination cards or passports to tourists so that they could be allowed entry to the City of Pines.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong issued this advisory after receiving reports that there are some people selling unauthorized or fake COVID-19 vaccination passports or cards online.

“People might jump at this opportunity to fake their vaccine passports and enter the city without undergoing testing thereby putting everybody else at risk,” he said.

 

The Baguio City government’s triage is equipped to identify the authenticity of COVID-19 vaccination cards, Magalong noted.

He cited that they double-check the QR codes and validate the hotline numbers indicated in the cards.

Cardholders who cannot be validated through this process will then have to undergo COVID-19 testing. They will be turned away should they refuse.

Magalong said the city is ready to sue these individuals. He added that those who will carry fake vaccine cards and documents would be charged accordingly, citing the following provisions of the law under the Revised Penal Code:

  • 172 – Falsification by private individuals and use of falsified documents
  • 174 – False Medical Certificates, false certification of merits or service, etc.
  • 175 – Use of false certificates

Aside from the fake vaccination card, the Department of Interior and Local Government has informed the public early this year that falsifying of COVID-19 test results is “a crime punishable under 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.”

Under the Section 1-B of RA 11332, “tampering of records relating to notifiable diseases or health events of public health concern, which includes official medical test results or medical certificates, or such other documents and records issued by public health authorities” is punishable by law.

As of July 23, Baguio City is administering COVID-19 vaccines from the following brands—Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen and AstraZeneca.

In its updated protocols last Wednesday, July 21, all fully vaccinated adult travelers, including those who are 65 years old and above, may only present their COVID-19 vaccination cards to enter the city.

“In adherence to IATF-EID policy guidelines on interzonal and intrazonal travel, travelers AGED BELOW 18 YEARS, or OVER 65 YEARS, are required to present negative results of RT-PCR tests conducted not longer than 72 hours prior to entry,” read the advisory.

“We reiterate that adult travelers, including those over the age of 65, who are already fully vaccinated may present their duly issued vaccination documents in lieu of test results,” it added.

The public is still advised to observe the mandated minimum health standards against COVID-19 for the safety of everyone.