The Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM) is warning the public of "unscrupulous individuals" posing as their employees offering swabbing services and issuing fake COVID-19 test results.
On Wednesday, Jan. 27, RITM issued a statement regarding the illegal activity, which was discovered when they received verification requests from private companies and some Diseases Reporting Units (DRUs). When the test results certification were submitted to RITM for verification, the organization did not find them on the database.
The investigation also revealed that the RITM logo used is fake, and the signatories on the certificate were not affiliated to RITM either. So far, a total of 27 requests were sent including those that will be used for travel, hotel accommodations, and other purposes.
RITM said they do not authorize other agencies, third-party organizations, and individuals to conduct tests or arrange online appointments. As such, they also informed the public that "The release of official laboratory results is likewise not subject to any form of payment." Testing done by a government institution such as RITM is funded by PhilHealth "and no extra charges are imposed," they said.
The organization also said that COVID-19 test results are released through the RITM 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,” said RITM Director Celia Carlos, warning the public of the risks.
“We are coordinating with the proper authorities to ensure that these illegal activities are put to a stop. Additional security features have also been implemented to prevent misuse of our Institute’s good name for personal profit and exploitation of public trust,” affirmed Carlos.
According to RITM, anyone who wishes to verify their results may contact RITM-SRU through 09199279185 and [email protected].