IATF, DOH should clamp down vs fake unified vaccination cards—Gatchalian

Published August 31, 2021, 11:28 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH) should clamp down on persons who produce fake unified vaccination certificates and impose stiffer penalties against them to protect the public against such fraudulent acts that could endanger their safety.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said there is a strong possibility that some unscrupulous individuals will take advantage of the opportunity to tamper or manipulate COVID-19 vaccination cards of fully vaccinated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) due to leave for work abroad.

“Hindi maiiwasan na baka may magsamantala kaya dapat ngayon pa lang ay pinag-iisipan na kung ano ang mga maaaring posibleng hakbang kung gagamiting kasangkapan sa mali o iligal na gawain ang unified vaccination certificate (We can’t discount the possibility there would be fraudsters, that’s why authorities should be proactive and find a mechanisms to prevent the unified vaccination certificates being used in illegal activities),” Gatchalian said.

“Dapat maglabas na ng stiffer penalties laban sa mga namemeke ng mga vaccination cards o gagawa ng mga bogus na vaccination cards. Marami tayong OFWs na aalis at babalik sa kanilang trabaho sa abroad (Authorities should impose stiffer penalties against those who make fake vaccination cards. We have so many OFWs that will leave and return from their work abroad),” he pointed out.

Gatchalian warned there could be syndicates already mulling such activity and this could jeopardize public health and put to waste all of the government’s efforts in containing the virus especially if fake ones end up in the hands of unvaccinated individuals.

“Baka merong mga sindikato na mang- abuso o magsamantalang gumawa ng fake vaccination cards for a fee. Dapat mahuli sila, parusahan natin dahil kawawa naman ‘yung OFWs na mabibiktima (There may be syndicates who will make fake vaccination cards for a fee. They should be arrested and prosecuted because it would be detrimental to the OFWs who would be victimized),” the senator added.

Gatchalian said that while the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 provides for penalties based on the Revised Penal Code on the falsification of a vaccine card, most local government units (LGUs) impose certain sets of penalties based on ordinances they have so far issued.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to launch the pilot test of the country’s portal for issuing COVID-19 unified vaccination certificate, VaxCertPH on September 1.

These VaxCertPH certificates would be digitally signed by the DOH to fully-inoculated Filipinos.