In preparation for the full implementation of the national contact tracing system, the Department of the Interior and Local Government today asked LGUs to stop developing their own systems and use the Stay Safe application instead.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that LGUs do not need to procure and implement their own contact tracing apps because the Stay Safe application, which is the national government’s official digital contact tracing system, is readily available for their use at no cost to them.
“However, if the LGU has already procured its own system and it’s being used widely, they can continue with it provided they integrate it with the Stay Safe application which is required under IATF Regulations,” he said.
Malaya said that they are now finalizing the terms of the formal turn-over of the Stay Safe application from the developer Multisys to the DILG as end-user and head of the NTF Task Group on Contact Tracing. “Once fully turned over to the DILG, we will conduct a workshop for all LGUs who have existing contact tracing systems so that these can be integrated with Stay Safe,” he added.
“Once we have a unified system, this will be a big boost to our digital contracting tracing efforts which will complement and assist in the work of our 255,000 contact tracers nationwide,” he said.
Stay Safe is currently being used in Caloocan, Muntinlupa and by other local governments in Metro Manila and other top companies in the country including 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, among others.
Last year, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has required all national government agencies and local government units to use StaySafe.ph, the government’s official contact tracing app, in a bid to boost the government’s digital contact tracing efforts.
Digital contact tracing efforts in the country are currently not unified, with local governments and private establishments typically employing their own contact tracing systems which are not integrated into government systems.
“We will soon fully implement the Stay Safe application and we don’t want to complicate the situation any further. It will be easier and more cost-efficient for LGUs to just use Stay Safe instead of buying their own,” said Malaya.
The latest IATF issuance seeks to change that, with it mandating that all data collected through digital contact tracing applications used by COVID-19 health facilities accredited by the health department, temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, hospitals, establishments, workplaces, transportation vehicles and hubs, and local government units will be submitted to a centralized contact tracing data repository to be linked and integrated with appropriate lab results.
Once contact tracing data is centralized, it will then be linked to the health department’s surveillance and contact tracing platform COVID Kaya or the COVID-19 document repository system.