Malacañang told local government units (LGUs) to continue integrating their digital contact tracing systems into the StaySafe application until the national pandemic task force comes up with a new resolution making its use optional.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Baguio City Mayor and Contact Tracing Czar Benjamin Magalong said the use of the StaySafe app was no longer mandatory due to system failure and other issues.
In his press briefing on Thursday, July 8, Roque said the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the use of the StaySafe app should still be followed for now.
“Hindi pa po nababago ang IATF resolution on StaySafe so kinikilala pa rin po natin siya as the [contact tracting] app for the country (The IATF resolution on StaySafe has not been amended so we still recognize it as the contact tracing app for the country),” he said.
“The directive for all LGUs to integrate their systems with the StaySafe app remains. Again, unless this is changed, it remains the pertinent IATF resolution,” he added.
The StaySafe app is the government’s digital contact tracing application of choice and was made mandatory for adoption and use in all national government agencies and instrumentalities as well as LGUs.
It was seen to augment the 1:36 tracer-to-close contact ratio set by Magalong and to expand it to nationwide coverage.
Malacañang has pushed for the full implementation of the StaySafe app after admitting that contact tracing has been the weakest point in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, in an interview with Radyo5 on July 8, Magalong said they were now encouraging LGUs to have their own contact tracing mechanism due to some “failure” with StaySafe. However, they would still have to integrate it into the new data warehouse platform Tanod Kontra-COVID (TKC) which will have a pilot test run in Baguio City next week.
“Hindi na po [mandatory] kasi nagkakaroon ng issues sa StaySafe especially sa (StaySafe is no longer mandatory because there are issues with it especially in the) source code, database production,” he said.
“Malaking delay kaya we are shifting to a different type of policy na ni-revise natin (It caused a big delay that’s why we are shifting to a different type of policy which we revised),” he added.