Catanduanes recorded its second case of COVID-19, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who presented a fake quarantine clearance certificate to return to the province, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) Wednesday late afternoon (June 10) confirmed.
Catanduanes PHO said in a press statement that the new coronavirus case is 49-year-old male OFW who arrived in Meto Manila on May 23 and in Catanduanes on June 8.
The Bureau of Quarantine’s validation found that the OFW tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) after he was screened at the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on June 1. His results were released on June 4.
In an interview with Manila Bulletin, “Gov. Joseph C. Cua said, based on an initial investigation made by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF)-Catanduanes, the OFW, who arrived in San Miguel, Catanduanes, presented a fake quarantine certificate.”
The infected OFW falsified the document, which showed logos of different government agencies. The original quarantine certificate from the IATF-Sub-Task Group for the Repatriation of OFWs only has three logos.
The OFW could face civil and criminal charges for falsification of public documents and other liabilities.
OFW fakes quarantine clearance
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Catanduanes Commander Ens. Warren Quejencio would impose protocols in checking the documents of returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) arriving at the province.
ROFs are now mandated to get a copy of the molecular laboratory result form issued by the PRC. This is to certify that they are negative for COVID-19 upon real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.
The said OFW is currently isolated at the San Miguel local government unit quarantine facility and has shown mild symptoms.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Catanduanes, meanwhile, denied that the infected patient is in their manifesto for OFWs who arrived on June 8 at Virac seaport.
According to OWWA, it is not clear how the COVID-19 positive OFW was able to ride the bus without being listed as a passenger. The OFWs going to Albay assembled at PTEX in Parañaque last June 6.
OWWA said they would conduct a separate investigation regarding the incident.