Magalong urges businesses, LGUs’ to integrate contact tracing with app

Magalong urges businesses, LGUs’ to integrate contact tracing with app

By Susan G. De Leon

CALOOCAN CITY, March 17 (PIA) — The government’s Tracing Czar and Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Tuesday urged all businesses and local government units (LGUs) to have a unified effort for contact tracing by utilizing the app.

“Business establishments should be compliant with the Stay Safe App QR Code and we need to reiterate this to LGUs to compel business establishments to use this,” Magalong said in an interview with the Laging Handa public briefing hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office. 

“And for LGUs, in case they have their own contact tracing app, to integrate their local apps to the Stay Safe app, I have to ask the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] to have a survey among LGUs on their compliance,” he added, as he emphasized that they are eyeing to unify all contact tracing digital apps after some LGUs launched their own online contact tracing apps.

He said all contact tracing digital applications must be integrated to be effective, however, after the government launched the StaySafe app, other LGUs also made some initiative to come up with their own.

StaySafe, which was first launched in April this year, is the government’s official digital contact tracing, which will also help in reporting the health conditions of individuals especially amid the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Stay Safe App is a national government recognized contact tracing app, but it’s not an absolute solution, just a tool,” the official said.

The digital platform, that augments the Department of Health’s manual health surveillance efforts, is free of charge and uses QR codes to present for health checks and contact tracing.

Although the platform underwent a very meticulous evaluation by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), especially focusing on security of data, Magalong, however, admitted that there may have been issues on some of the app’s data earlier, but now being addressed by the government.

“There is an issue on the complete turnover of the data and system of the app to the DOH and we are resolving this with the DICT and the app developer, hopefully by March 22,” he explained, adding that the DICT is in charge of monitoring the data integration, security, and in using an application programming interface (API), which will connect all digital contact tracing apps.

Magalong also assured the public that the government runs continuous assessment to make sure that the data, which the digital contact tracing app will gather, is not prone to abuse. (PIA NCR)