MANILA (UPDATE) — The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on Wednesday said it has discovered a racket where people pretend to be its employees and are issuing fake COVID-19 test results.
The RITM said the “unscrupulous individuals” were also offering swabbing services.
The scam was discovered by RITM after it received verification requests from private companies and the government’s disease reporting units. Of 27 falsified test results, 20 were used for travel , 3 for accommodations (3), and 4 for other purposes.
RITM said it does not authorize any third-party group to collect samples or arrange for online appointments.
“The release of official laboratory results is likewise not subject to any form of payment. As a government institution, providing services to the public such as SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing at RITM is subsidized and reimbursed through PhilHealth and no extra charges are imposed,” it said.
RITM said its test results are only released through the Surveillance and Response Unit (SRU) and Health Information Management Department (HIMD).
“The use of fake laboratory results poses a danger not only to individuals, but to their family, their workplace, and their community. When you go around without confirming your status, you are putting everyone around you at risk,” RITM Director Celia Carlos said.
The RITM discovered the falsified test results when it could not be found in the COVID-19 Laboratory Information System. The signatories were also not affiliated with the institute.
“The Institute only releases certified true copy of results and does not issue any other certification,” it said.
RITM is already coordinating with other government agencies to stop the said illegal activities.
“Additional security features have also been implemented to prevent misuse of our Institute’s good name for personal profit and exploitation of public trust,” Carlos said.
RITM said those who want to verify their results may contact the RITM-SRU through 09199279185 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, the public can also report suspicious activities concerning testing to the DOH.
The Philippine National Police urged employers to strictly monitor the test results of their employees and warned that those who falsify it may be charged with estafa.
"We suggest na yung management maging mabusisi pa rin sa pagpepresent ng mga papeles galing sa mga ospital kung saan sila nagpatest," PNP spokesperson Brig Gen. Ildebrandi Usana told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo Thursday.
(We suggest managements to be particular about documents from hospitals where their employees underwent testing for coronavirus.)
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