Syndicate eyed behind fake RT-PCR, S-Pass

Syndicate eyed behind fake RT-PCR, S-Pass

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The Antique provincial government has warned returning residents (RRs) against a possible syndicate selling fake reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-Pass) at the Batangas Port.

Cherrylyn Quanico, in charge of the locally-stranded individuals, said in an interview Friday she has informed the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on coronavirus disease 2019 (IATF Covid-19) of a possible syndicate behind the issuance of the fake RT-PCR and S-Pass to the RRs.

“Only last December 2021 up to today, there had already been about 20 RRs who had been directed to return to their place of origin because of their fake RT-PCR and S-Pass presented at the Caticlan Port in Aklan,” she added.

The latest incident happened on January 24 where there were eight RRs from Luzon who arrived in Caticlan Port through a roll-on-roll-off facility from Batangas Port who were found to have fake RT-PCR and S-Pass.

Quanico said the Aklan Provincial Tourism Office personnel, who are also assigned to check on the RT-PCR and S-Pass of the arriving passengers at the port, informed her about the discovery of fake documents.

“I had to order that these RRs who were supposed to go home to Sibalom (in Antique) should return to their place of origin because of the discovery,” she added.

The Aklan Provincial Tourism Office has a scanner to detect the authenticity of the documents using the Quick Response (QR) Code.

These fake RT-PCR and S-Pass were bought by the RRs for PHP5,000 to PHP6,000 from people who approached them at the Batangas Port.

Quanico said some of the victims narrated that they were taken inside a van and “swabbed” before they were issued the test results by the same people offering such service.

However, others reportedly admitted that they bought the fake documents showing a negative swab test and S-Pass to avoid the inconvenience of processing the documents.

Meanwhile, Antique Provincial Police Office (APPO) director Police Col. Alexander Golles Mariano said during the IATF Covid-19 meeting on Jan. 27 that he had coordinated with his counterpart in Batangas where the fake RT-PCR and S-Pass are being issued to the RRs as part of their investigation.

He said those behind the issuance of the fake documents will have to be stopped and be made legally liable.

As of Jan. 27, Antique has 1, 214 active Covid-19 cases, 7, 729 total confirmed cases with 6, 213 recoveries, and 302 deaths. (PNA)

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