MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has asked local government units (LGUs) to stop developing different contact tracing applications and instead use a unified StaySafe application, which would be the national government’s system.
The DILG said on Friday that LGUs would not need to develop other contact tracing applications because the system would be made available for LGUs as the country gears up for the full implementation of the system.
For local governments that have created or tapped information technology companies for their own version of contact tracing systems, the DILG said that these can be integrated into the StaySafe platform.
“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,” DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.
“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 added.
According to Malaya, StaySafe developer Multisys is now in the final stages of turning over the application to DILG, which would then be used for contact tracing of possible COVID-19 patients.
“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,” Malaya noted.
Reports last March 12 showed that the government is preparing a rollout of the StaySafe system, which would address the weak contact tracing efforts of the government. During the initial stages of the pandemic, several local governments resorted to the creation of their own systems, which were eventually integrated with neighboring LGUs’ systems.
The integration of a unified contact tracing system would be a great help for the government’s COVID-19 response, especially as the country is experiencing a new COVID-19 surge. As of Friday, the Philippines recorded its highest-ever single day jump in cases, with 7,103 new infections, pushing the number of active cases to 73,264. According to analytics group OCTA Research, the country may have a total of 11,000 cases daily by the end of March if the surge is not stopped.
Malaya said that the StaySafe system is currently widely-used in other cities and major establishments across the country, including government offices.
“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,” Malaya added.
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