Nine months after IATF order, StaySafe still not in gov't hands
Photo illustration shows a screenshot of the StaySafe.ph app.
Photo illustration by Philstar.com/Rico Alonzo

Nine months after IATF order, StaySafe still not in gov't hands

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - March 9, 2021 - 1:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — The chosen COVID-19 contact tracing app of the government is still not in its hands nine months after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases ordered the app’s donation to the state.

Enrique Tayag, director of the Department of Health’s Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service, told the House health panel on Tuesday that they have yet to finalize the donation of StaySafe to the government.

Tayag said this is because they have yet to receive a certificate from the Department of Information and Communications Technology showing that StaySafe is technically feasible and secure, as required by the IATF.

“There are certain requirements in the guidelines that we issued that have not been complied with, as far as I know,” lawyer Omar Sana of the DICT said, explaining why the agency has not yet issued the certification for StaySafe.

Tayag also said that they encountered delays in the verification of the app, supposedly due to its developer, Multisys Technologies Corp., continuing to tweak StaySafe’s features.

“The process has taken so long because … he’s (Multisys CEO and founder David Almirol) giving us a hard time together with the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) and the National Privacy Commission to actually vet, validate and confirm the usage of StaySafe,” Tayag said.

Almirol denied this, saying that all features in StaySafe have been built into the app from the start, and blamed the delay of the app’s donation on the government being allegedly unprepared to accept it.

“They asked us to deliver the car, but when we delivered the car, there’s no parking lot. So meaning, they’re not ready to accept the donation,” he said.

The IATF issued way back in June 2020 Resolution No. 45 provides that the DOH and Multisys will enter into a memorandum of agreement on the donation of StaySafe, including its source code, all data, data ownership and intellectual property.

The government’s pandemic task force gave Multisys 30 days from the issuance of the resolution to comply with its donation directive or else the government would withdraw its endorsement of StaySafe as its official contact tracing app.

While the donation of StaySafe has not been completed, the government has pushed with the full rollout of the contact tracing app, making it mandatory for anyone who wishes to enter national and local government offices, private companies, hotels, business establishments, and public transportation.

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