DILG renews call to LGUs, public to use StaySafe.ph app to boost contact tracing

Robie de Guzman   •   March 31, 2021   •   209

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) renewed its call to all local government units (LGU) and the general public to use and patronize the StaySafe.ph application for digital contact tracing to boost the country’s tracing program amid rising COVID-19 cases.

DILG Officer-In-Charge Bernardo Florece Jr. said the online application is an effective tool for contact tracing nationwide to ensure “consistent, and unified contact tracing reporting.”

“Instead of using other apps, it is imperative for LGUs to use the StaySafe app for a unified system that will allow seamless, fast, and efficient contact tracing efforts,” Florece said during the MOA Signing and official turnover of the StaySafe app to the government through the DILG on Monday.

Florece said that while he appreciates the initiatives of LGUs and private companies in developing their own contact tracing systems, utilizing the StaySafe.ph app will make it easier for government authorities and medical experts to keep track of the cases all over the country and carry out decisive actions to stem the rapid transmission of the virus.

“Hindi po puwedeng kanya-kanya tayo. We need a macro view of the situation on the ground so that we will be armed with up-to-date information that will aid us in implementing COVID-19 response policies and measures,” he said.

Florece stressed that the app will also complement the efforts of the more than 250,000 contact tracers in the country who are doing physical contact tracing.

“We recognize that we need to further intensify our contact tracing initiatives especially at this time that we have a surge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“With the help of StaySafe app and the dedicated efforts of our contact tracing teams nationwide, I believe that this can help in successfully tracking down the cases and their contacts and prevent the spread of the virus,” he added.

Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the DILG and the DICT will hold a workshop for all LGUs with existing local contact tracing systems so that they can be integrated with StaySafe.

The DILG will also hold a workshop for all other LGUs since the use of the app is mandatory.

“In this time of the pandemic, we cannot afford to work singly and alone, apart from the efforts of the others. Hence, we need to unify our contact tracing initiatives through the StaySafe app. We will, of course, provide technical assistance to LGUs who may need help in integrating their own systems with StaySafe,” he said.

Malaya said that the StaySafe app is currently being used by some 15 Million individual users and some 700 LGUs across the country. The DILG aims to reach at least 50 Million users and connect all 1,634 city and municipal LGUs across the country.

He assured the public that the Stay Safe app will not be used for surveillance because it does not use GPS, rather it uses Bluetooth technology through the Google Apple Exposure Notification System.

“The doubters of this system can sleep easy. The system and its database are no longer in the hands of a private company but now in the hands of the DILG which will ensure compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations. The National Privacy Commission has also reviewed Stay Safe and it has passed the NPC’s review,” he added.

The DILG said the app engages the public against the spread of COVID-19 and aggregates all reports available in desktop and mobile versions, allowing the government to respond quickly to people’s needs and make informed and timely decisions to keep Filipinos safe during the pandemic.

PNP should not interfere with community pantry, DILG’s Año says

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

 

Community pantry

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said that police and local government executives should not interfere with community pantries and other similar initiatives organized by private groups.

Año issued the statement following reports that some of the community pantry organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.

The DILG chief said police and local government interference should only be limited to ensuring that health protocols are being implemented.

“Since this is a purely voluntary and private initiative, we should not interfere except to ensure that minimum health standards are complied with,” Año said.

“Hence, organizers must adhere to existing laws and local ordinances especially those issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he added.

Año also clarified that he did not order the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the community pantries around the country.

“The community pantry has been a traditional practice in our country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit specially in the times of calamities and disasters,” he said.

“In the spirit of Bayanihan, many Filipinos have been doing selfless acts of kindness since last year.

As long as the intention is good and without political color, it should be encouraged and supported,” he added.

As to the issue of whether organizers are required to secure barangay permits, the DILG chief said that organizers should “consult with the concerned barangays if such is required.”

“The PNP and/or local officials may just come in if there is any violation of law, if there are complaints from the community, or if the organizers seek their help,” he said.

“The LGUs, barangays and the PNP are ready to provide utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the public,” he added.

DILG Sec. Año returns to work after more than 3 months in hospital

Marje Pelayo   •   April 16, 2021

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año

 

MANILA, Philippines – Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is returning to work on Friday (April 16) after more than three months of hospital care.

In a statement, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the DILG chief already received clearance from his doctors, though it will be on a work-from-home setup until he is fully recovered.

“After more than three months of grueling struggle, including a heart operation, the Secretary is well, in high spirits, and ready to reassume his duties in the Department as well as in the National Task Force COVID-19 and in the IATF-EID,” Malaya said.

“He will start by first working from home and eventually to full normal routine,” he noted.

Malaya expressed gratitude to the public for respecting the DILG Chief’s privacy in the past few months and “for giving him the time to rest, recuperate, and fully recover.’

Aplikasyon para sa higit 4,000 dagdag contact tracers sa Metro Manila, bubuksan sa Abril 16 — DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sisimulan na sa Biyernes ang pagtanggap ng aplikasyon para sa mga nais magtrabaho bilang contact tracer upang mapaigting ang tracing efforts ng pamahalaan kontra COVID-19.

Ayon sa Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), kabuuang 4,574 na dagdag contact tracers ang balak kunin ng pamahalaan para sa Metro Manila, na itinuturing na epicenter ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

“Simula po bukas, open na yung ating hiring, at ito ay magtatapos hanggang April 22,” ang pahayag ni DILG Undersecretary Bernardo Florece sa isang press briefing ngayong Huwebes.

Aniya, P537 kada araw ang sweldo ng isang contact tracer at tatagal ng tatlong buwan ang kanilang kontrata.

Kabilang sa mga kuwalipikasyon ay high school graduate at prayoridad na kunin ang mga nasa informal working sector na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemya.

Para sa mga interesadong mag-apply, magsumite ng letter of application, barangay certification, medical certificate at iba pang kinakailangang mga dokumento sa pamamagitan ng electronic mail (e-mail) sa Office of the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) ng mga lokal na pamahalaan.

Ayon sa DILG, sa Mayo 1 target na mai-deploy ang mga bagong contact tracer pagkatapos sumailalim sa training. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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