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House bill seeking to impose stricter penalties vs. those faking COVID test results filed

Deputy Speaker Weslie Gatchalian is pushing for the imposition of stiffer penalties against individuals who falsify COVID-19 test results.

In filing House Bill 8643, Gatchalian on Monday pointed out that faking a COVID-19 test result would pose risk to the safety of the public.

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, to include the falsification of COVID-19 test results.

“Though falsification of COVID-19 test results may seem like a trivial procedural matter to some, it may actually and recklessly endanger the lives of the people these offenders may interact or come into contact with,” Gatchalian said.

“Given how contagious and deadly the novel coronavirus is, it is only appropriate that stiffer punishments be imposed on anyone who knowingly fakes COVID-19 test results,” he added.

He further said the high price of COVID-19 tests prompted other people to falsify their test results.

“The desire of individuals to proceed with their lives in the new normal should not be at the expense of other people,” he added.

Under the proposed measure, an individual proven to have falsified any COVID-19 test results shall be imprisoned for a minimum of six years and one day to a maximum of 12 years, according to the lawmaker.

Those convicted shall also be fined with P1,000,000, he added.

In the present law, persons found guilty of tampering with their health records would be fined P20,000 to P50,000 or face imprisonment of at least one to six months, or both. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA News