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

DILG Officer-In-Charge Bernardo Florece Jr. said that 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 yesterday.

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.

The DILG OIC said 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. 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 said.

Present during the virtual turnover ceremony were representatives from the DILG, Multisys Technologies Corporation, Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the Department of Health (DOH)-Bureau of Epidemiology.

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 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 Stay Safe 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 bluebooth technology through the GAENS or the Google Apple Exposure Notification System.

“The doubters of this system can sleep easy. The system and its database is 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.

“We laud Multisys headed by its President and CEO David Almirol for developing this remarkable innovation in contact tracing that will give the country an upper hand in COVID-19 prevention, tracing, and response,” he said.

For his part, Almirol said that he is pleased that his company, Multisys Technologies Corporation, has done its significant share in helping the government at this time of pandemic when everyone is called to be part of the solution and take an active part in anti-COVID efforts.

Designed to aid in the management of COVID-19 cases by reminding people to maintain physical distance, as well as recording and monitoring COVID-19 symptoms, StaySafe.PH was developed by Multisys Technologies Corporation in collaboration with PLDT-Smart Group and PLDT Enterprise and the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and the National Task Force on COVID-19.

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.

Among the LGUs now using this app are Caloocan, Muntinlupa and other local governments in Metro Manila. It is also being used now by top companies like SM Supermalls, McDonalds, Jollibee Foods Corporation, Alliance Global which includes Megaworld Corporation, Union Bank, Yuchengo Group of Companies including RCBC Bank, Filinvest, JG Summit which handles Robinsons Malls, Metrobank, Resto.ph, and Angkas.

In April 2020, the National Task Force on Covid-19 signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Multisys Technologies Corporation adopting StaySafe.Ph app as the country’s official contact tracing, health condition reporting, and social distancing system.

Original Article at: https://dilg.gov.ph/news/DILG-to-LGUs-public-Use-StaySafePH-app-to-boost-contact-tracing/NC-2021-1062