Carmona modifies COVID-19 tracker app for residents without internet access

CARMONA, Cavite - The municipal government modified its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tracker app called Carmona Digital Contact Tracer (DCT) to cater to residents who don't have regular access to the internet.

The local government unit (LGU) admitted that encouraging residents to download the app has been challenging at first due to several factors, including connectivity.

"Perhaps it’s mainly because not everyone has a cell phone to start with nor access and capacity for mobile data or internet," Information Technology Department Head Angelo G. Macha told Manila Bulletin. "Being aware of these gaps, we modified our technology that would suit the landscape that we have in Carmona. We adjusted the DCT app for it to work even offline."

Aside from the modification, the LGU also oriented business establishments to keep logbooks in order to monitor visitors who don't have smartphones.

Originally launched as Carmona COVID-19 Tracker (CCT) in May, the municipal government updated the app's name last month.

According to Municipal Information, Tourism, Culture & Arts Office (MITCAO) Officer-in-Charge Charmaine B. Distor, the step was meant to fast-track its approval on App Store and Google Play Store, with both platforms cracking down on apps with COVID in its title to prevent the spread of misleading programs.

Privacy was another concern that previously caused hesitation over downloading the app. However, the LGU's assurance that the information will only be used for contact-tracing purposes seemed to have quelled residents' skepticism.

In fact, around 92,000 users have already installed and registered, which is around 80% of Carmona's population. As a result, contact-tracing measures have become smoother over the past weeks.

"DCT app somehow addresses the bottleneck in conducting contact tracing," Municipal Health Officer (MHO) Dr. Homer L. Aguinaldo told Manila Bulletin. "We still do actual visits in the community but it became more precise since the DCT app provides information on travel and interaction histories of users."

The boost in contact-tracing efforts is much needed, with Carmona experiencing a surge in its COVID-19 cases along with other areas in Cavite.

To further maximize its use, the municipal government is also considering the possibility of integrating local government services into the app.