IATF requires government units to use StaySafe app
Photo illustration shows a screenshot of the StaySafe.ph app.
Photo illustration by Philstar.com/Rico Alonzo

IATF requires government units to use StaySafe app

(Philstar.com) - November 27, 2020 - 12:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is now requiring national government agencies and local government units to use StaySafe.ph, the government’s official contact tracing app, in a bid to consolidate digital contact tracing data eight months into the pandemic.

The government’s policy-making body in its fight against the coronavirus is also encouraging private establishments to use StaySafe.ph and for other contact tracing applications to integrate their systems with the app developed by PLDT-backed Multisys Technologies Corp.

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.

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.

StaySafe.ph, however, comes with some concerns on its efficacy as a contact tracing app and data privacy.

Former Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Eliseo Rio has warned the government against heavily relying on the contact tracing app as it supposedly is not equipped with necessary features to cover millions of Filipinos.

Malacañang has allayed privacy concerns, with Multisys and the health department signing an agreement to ensure that StaySafe.ph would be compliant with data privacy, confidentiality and cybersecurity laws. — Xave Gregorio with reports from Ian Nicolas Cigaral and Alexis Romero

Disclosure: PLDT-owned Mediaquest Holdings Inc. is a major stakeholder in Philstar Global Corp., which runs news website Philstar.com.

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