Gov't vows to improve use of StaySafe.PH

In a bid to step up the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, the government is moving to enhance the use of its official contact tracing application in the country.

People form a line leading to a community pantry in Sta. Mesa, Manila on April 30, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has adopted the recommendations made by a technical working group on information and communications technology to "further improve on the use of StaySafe.PH," according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

"To improve the use of StaySafe.PH, the IATF adopted the use of modules for establishment protection as well as citizen application, subject to the presentation to the IATF of its operability," Roque said in a statement.

"Further, the IATF approved the recommendation for the Joint Administrative Order for the Interoperability of All Contact Tracing Applications," he added.

The government task force earlier approved the recommendations of the economic team to ensure digital tracking applications used by local government units would function with one another. The interoperability of all contact tracing applications was proposed after the government has yet to fully implement due to technical issues.

The government launched the as the official contact tracing application last year to ensure fast and efficient tracing of contacts of a person with suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the government's contact tracing czar, however recently disclosed that the Department of Health has rejected the use of the contact tracing application until further study. The tracker software could not yet be deemed as “highly reliable” due to incomplete documents submitted by the developer, he added.

The Department of Interior and Local Government was expected to lead the further study of the application.

Many local government units and business establishments have developed their own contact tracing systems to help in the fight against the coronavirus spread. Contact tracing remained a problematic area in the government's pandemic response, prompting authorities to vow to improve the system.