PH government launches StaySafe.ph as official contact tracing program – Palace

PH government launches StaySafe.ph as official contact tracing program – Palace

The Philippine government today, September 2, launched the StaySafe.ph application as the official contact tracing program, which is a game changer to the country’s COVID-19 response, according to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr.

“Nagkaroon po tayo ng game changer today ng inilunsad po natin kaninang umaga ang StaySafe.ph. Ito po ay isang automated contact tracing program na inilunsad ngayong araw na ito sa SM Manila,” said Secretary Roque in his press briefing in Malacañan Palace.

The Palace official said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) as early as June 2020 had reaffirmed its policy on the use of StaySafe.ph for contact tracing. “Kung inyong matatandaan, ipinagtibay po ng IATF noong Hunyo ang paggamit ng StaySafe.PH bilang opisyal na contact tracing application ng pamahalaan,” said Secretary Roque.

Per IATF Resolution No. 45, dated June 10, 2020, a Memorandum of Agreement between Multisys Technology Corporation and the Department of Health (DOH) is forged regarding the donation and use of StaySafe.ph, which shall include the source code, all data, data ownership, and intellectual property of Multisys to DOH.

It was also agreed that the DOH shall accept the StaySafe.ph upon the issuance of a certification by the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Privacy Commission that the donation is technically feasible and secure, systems are compatible, and the arrangement is compliant with data privacy laws.

Also part of the agreement on the use and management of StaySafe.ph is that the function of the app shall be limited to collection of data and all data collected shall be stored in DOH’s COVID-Kaya system, and that all data currently in the StaySafe.ph database shall be migrated to COVID-Kaya.

The launch of StaySafe.ph contact tracing app was supported by private sector partners that include SM Supermalls, McDonald’s Philippines, Jollibee Foods Corporation, UnionBank Philippines, Filinvest Development Corporation, Alliance Global Inc, JG Summit, Metrobank, Yuchengco Group of Companies, Bankers Association of the Philippines, The Moment Group, and ANGKAS.

In the same press briefing, David Almirol Jr, chief executive officer of MultiSys, demonstrated the use of StaySafe.ph and explained how private companies and establishments can use the app. Almirol said that companies can download a QR code that can be displayed in workplaces or establishments that when scanned will serve as a digital logbook that can be used for contact tracing.

George Royeca, chief transport advocate of ANGKAS, said that the private sector has so much to gain from using the app in contact tracing as the app is connected to all molecular laboratories in the country. By scanning the QR code displayed, establishments can easily identify whether persons wanting to enter its premises are confirmed, probable, or suspected to have COVID-19. Royeca added that this will also give confidence to consumers that the establishment that they will be entering is COVID-19 free.

Meanwhile, Ida Tiongson of FinTech pointed out the main benefit of using the app in establishments as this will make collection of information for contact tracing easier for establishments as it will be paperless and will help reduce the risk of virus transmission. Tiongson said that this will also solve the problem of getting erroneous or made-up information by some individuals and thus improves contact tracing.

On another matter, Secretary Roque announced during the same press briefing, a significant development in the Metro Manila Subway project. “Bukas ay makikita na natin, live from Japan, ang actual tunnel boring machines na ipadadala sa Pilipinas. Ito ay gagamitin sa pagpapatayo ng ating Metro Manila Subway,” Roque said referring to the Department of Transportation’s Virtual Media Factory Tour and Factory Acceptance Test on September 4, 2020 from 2-4 PM via Zoom.

Aside from the status of the construction of the Metro Manila Subway, Secretary Vivencio Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, who is a resource person in the said press briefing, gave a report on the status of flagship infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build program. Sec Dizon said that the Duterte Administration is fully committed to enhance infrastructure development in the country through the Build Build Build program, particularly at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic to generate employment and stimulate the economy.

Dizon reported that infrastructure spending increased significantly during the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, from merely 1.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product from 2001 to 2010, to 6.0 percent or P932 billion every year from 2017 to 2019. Among the completed projects under the Build Build Build program are the New Clark City Phase 1A, Harbor Link, and Sangley Airport, while projects nearing completion include the Broadband Project with Facebook, Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project, Laguna Lake Highway, Cagayan de Oro Port, Clark International Airport, Skyway Stage 3, and MRT 7.

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