Magalong assures digital contact tracing app secured, safe to use

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 3, 2020   •   880

Contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong assured the public on Thursday (September 3) that StaySafe, a digital contact tracing application, is safe to use.

Magalong said the app is secured and has undergone meticulous evaluation by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).

He also said the app can be integrated into the existing contact tracing system of local government units.

Alam po namin na marami na pong local government unit ang may kaniya-kaniya pong digital contact tracing application. Kaya hindi na po kailangan na mag-back to zero sila (We know there are local government units that have their own digital contact tracing application so there is no need for them to go back to zero),” he said.

StaySafe application can be downloaded for free.

Several business establishments in Metro Manila will use the application to lessen queues in manually filling out forms for contact tracing.

MultiSys Technologies Corporation CEO and StaySafe Developer David Almirol Jr. said app users will only need to present their QR code in malls, restaurants, and other establishments for their profile to be uploaded.

“Imagine habang gamit gamit mo ang StaySafe at naglalakad ka sa kalye, so sasabihin ng StaySafe, may na detect ka 3 meters to 5 meters confirmed case. So mag-iingat ka. Magso-social distancing ka. Ganoon lang ka simple po (Imagine using StaySafe and you’re walking. StaySafe will alert you that it has detected a confirmed case 3 to 5 meters from you. So you will take extra precautions, you will exercise social distancing. It’s that simple),” he said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

IATF approves use of automatic contact tracing via smart messaging system

Maris Federez   •   April 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Saturday (April 10) approved the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority to use automatic contact tracing through smart messaging system.

A statement issued by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday said this is to further strengthen and improve the use of StaySafe.ph System – the official social distancing, COVID-19 health-condition reporting, and contact tracing system of the government.

“To ensure interoperability and integration of all contact tracing applications integration in the StaySafe.ph System, there will be an initial beta-testing, together with the proposed messaging, of the Smart Messaging System in Pasig City due on May 1, 2021, and beta-testing in the consortium of Antipolo and cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Valenzuela due on May 1, 2021, with access to COVID-19 Document Repository System (CDRS),” the statement said.

The IATF has also adopted the recommendation on the immediate completion of the transfer of ownership of the CDRS, and its immediate integration with the StaySafe.PH System and other local contact tracing systems and applications, to the Department of Health (DOH), Roque said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been directed to be the overall lead in the implementation of the project, while the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is directed to lead its national interoperability.

The DOH, on the other hand, is in charge of ensuring the integration of the StaySafe.ph System with the CDRS.

The DILG shall be convening with the DICT and the DOH to formulate the necessary action plan with specific timelines and targets for the said project.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   March 31, 2021

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.

Caloocan City establishments to use StaySafe app to boost contact tracing efforts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 17, 2021

CALOOCAN CITY, Philippines — Several public and private establishments in Caloocan City will also implement the use of QR codes from StaySafe app to boost the city’s contact tracing efforts.

Caloocan City’s Contact Tracing Head Atty. Sikini Labastilla said this would also be a part of the city’s response in preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) amid the surge of cases.

Iyong digital log book and ang blocking those positive cases from entering the establishments, iyon malaking tulong iyon (The digital book and blocking individuals with positive cases from entering establishments is helpful),” he said.

Caloocan City authorities are currently monitoring residents to remind and inform them about the new guidelines in using the StaySafe app. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

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