Contact tracing czar Magalong lauds Pasay’s tracing app

Contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has commended the “tracing app” being used by the Pasay City government which he described as a “far better system than ours.”

Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

He said the city government’s effort could get the needed boost by implementing the “cognitive interviewing technique” being employed by the national government to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Magalong was among key officials of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases that included Health Secretary Francisco Duque, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and World Health Organization (WHO) country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe who met with Pasay  City officials Friday (August 7).

Magalong, the former chief of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) said “cognitive interviewing” is similar to the questioning technique employed by the police to retrieve information about a crime from eyewitnesses and victims.

This technique, he said can be used effectively to gather information about COVID-19 patients and the people they interacted with. 

Magalong said he is willing to share the technique with Pasay City to improve contact tracing efforts. 

Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano said the visit of Magalong and other IATF officials “to assist and guide us in combatting this pandemic is for us a golden opportunity: opportunity to learn through  our sharing of experience and best practices, to address our weak points and improve on them and enhance our strong points. This encounter presents a clear vision on how we can better together heal as one.”

Rubiano said, “opening our contact tracing command center (CTCC) is another one big step in our strategy to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our city. This will serve as the nerve center for data gathering. With just one click of our contact tracers in out tablets, data will be automatically sent to our data base. In this way, we will be able to implement more efficiently our contact tracing process.”

The tracing app One Country 100 is a “patient management system with contact tracing capability” developed by 8layer Technologies, Inc in partnership with the Pasay city government.

Layer Chairman Meric Mara said: “Our ultimate drive to help in fighting COVID-19 for Pasay City is ‘innovations for Better Data’ thus we implemented this technological strategy and system called One Country 100. It’s a digital contact tracing system with case investigation, COVID-19 Testing result, clinical information and quarantine management all-in-one. This will augment the city in a data-driven decision making as a tool to automate the process of Monitor-Test-Trace-Isolate using technology that will definitely flatten the curve with the aid of contact tracing team of the city.”

Rubiano said, “We should continuously intensify our efforts especially in contact tracing since we see this as one of the major keys to effectively flatten the curve. We should continue to improve our public health system. We aim to supply additional basic medicines to help strengthen the immune system of our constituents especially the vulnerable sectors. We shall increase the availability of swab and rapid testing. We will continue informing educating and engaging our people on the dangers of COVID-19 through our massive information dissemination.”