A couple with travel history from Tawi-Tawi and Sandakan, Malaysia were charged in Court Thursday, January 7 for intentionally providing misinformation
and non-cooperation with police and barangay authorities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of a new coronavirus strain detected in Sabah recently.
The Police Station 8 through the deputy commander formally filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office, charges of violation of Republic Act 11332 specifically section 9, paragraph b and e. against Jay Christopher Tabat y Ramirez and his wife, Mary Gail Amante, both residents of Kainaiyahan, Purok 14, Brgy. Sinunuc.
RA 11332 is an act Providing Policies and Prescribing Procedures on Surveillance and Response to Notifiable Diseases, Epidemics, and Health Events of Public Health Concern, and Appropriating Funds Therefor, Repealing for the Purpose Act No. 3573, Otherwise Known as the “Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases.” Section 9 under prohibited acts include “(b) tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation” and “(e) non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.”
The husband and wife are the first people to be charged under the law on reporting of communicable diseases.
According to the police, the couple arrived in Sinunuc from Brgy. Taganak, Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, 2:45 AM of January 5 via the Wee Bin wharf in Baliwasan on board a private sea craft, as reported by the Sinunuc Barangay officials and Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT).
When interviewed by police authorities, the couple revealed that they arrived in Taganak, Turtle Islands Tawi-tawi November 15, 2020 from Sandakan, Malaysia on board a speedboat.
The husband and wife also allegedly declared that they underwent quarantine in Taganak, Tawi-Tawi but failed to show documents to prove their declaration
and to confirm that they underwent RT-PCR tests. Likewise, the travel authority, which the couple presented and claimed was issued to them by a certain Hamja Bato of barangay Taganak, did not bear any signature.
The police checked with the Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi Municipal Police Station and barangay officials of Taganak to determine the veracity of the couple’s declarations.
Upon their arrival last January 5, the husband and wife were transferred to the Ecozone Facility in San Ramon Talisayan for the mandatory quarantine. (LGU Press Information Office)