The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging all local government units (LGUs), business establishments, and the general public to make use of the improved Staysafe.Ph digital contact tracing system to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the community-driven, health condition-reporting, and social distancing Stay Safe.ph system has been further improved by the National Task Force COVID 19 and remains to be the only approved national digital contract tracing system by the IATF MEID.
Developed through the partnership of the Inter-Agency Task Force and MultiSys Technology Corporation (MultiSys), the StaySafe app serves as a multi-purpose tool in managing the COVID situation in the country.
"The new and improved StaySafe app can be used by LGUs by accessing the heat map, contact tracer enrollment and deputization, and for cognitive contact tracing. It can also be used by individuals to report their health condition or to generate their own individual QR code which can be pre-filled before entering any building or establishment,” he said.
The app can also be used by business establishments or offices for them to generate a unique QR code and to use the digital logbook system for them to do away with numerous contact tracing forms and documents.
"Using this app is akin to the system used by other countries like Singapore, South Korea, and China which have worked positively to improve their contact tracing efforts in their countries," he added.
In Memorandum Circular 2020-129 issued by Secretary Eduardo M. Año, the DILG is urging all LGUs, business establishments, and the general public to access the system through the website www.staysafe.ph or by downloading the application on Google Play.
“While some LGUs have developed their own digital contact tracing system, these systems can only be used within their territorial boundaries while Stay Safe can be utilized nationwide,” said Malaya.
The improved StayStay app is now equipped with a built-in Bluetooth signal which enables contact feature with other app users and has an area scanning feature which alerts when nearby users COVID-19 symptoms.
It also comes with QR codes that LGUs can use as an alternative to the printed quarantine pass with built-in admin SMS blast so LGUs easily release public advisories and announcements. GPS function is likewise enabled for all contact tracers.
Among the country's biggest private organizations that have started using the said app are SM Supermalls, Jollibee Foods Corp., Robinsons Malls, and Angkas.
Malaya assured the public that there is no surveillance on all app downloads as it is mainly used for monitoring of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients only and that the National Privacy Commission has reviewed the app’s safety features to protect the person’s privacy.
"Ang tanging gamit lamang ng StaySafe app ay para mapabilis at maging mas epektibo contract tracing efforts ng ating bansa. Kailanman ay wala pong surveillance at malayang makakagalaw ang sinumang magdownload ng app na ito maliban na lamang kung sila ay nagpositibo sa COVID-19 kung saan sila ay ilalagay sa mga isolation o health facilities para mabigyan ng karampatang atensiyong medikal," he said.
He said that all the data will be under the control of the Department of Health as designated personal information controller and will be accessed only by contact tracers.