IATF devolves to local governments power to enforce use of StaySafe app

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Local government units have been tasked to enforce the mandatory use of the contact tracing app StaySafe.ph, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases co-chairperson said on Saturday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) — Local government units have been tasked to enforce the mandatory use of the contact tracing app StaySafe.ph, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases co-chairperson said on Saturday.

“We leave it to the LGUs on how they will enforce it on the ground,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who shares the IATF chairmanship with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, told CNN Philippines.

IATF Resolution No. 87, dated Dec. 3 but released on Friday, has sweeping provisions requiring “all establishments”, including government offices, private offices, hotels, business establishments and public transportation units, to adopt the so-called Safety Seal that will be visible within their premises.

A major condition to secure the seal is requiring customers to download the StaySafe app via their smart phones and generate a QR code in tandem with the app before allowed entry. The app captures personal details, like name, address, age, gender, and phone number, and comes with a health declaration form.

“Kung walang StaySafe App, hindi ka magkakaroon ng Safety Seal. Kung wala kang Safety Seal, then medyo dehado ka sa mga customers,” Nograles said, pointing out that the move should shore up consumer confidence and consequently, revive business activity.

[Translation: If you do not have the StaySafe App, you will not get a Safety Seal. If you do not have the Safety Seal, then customers wouldn’t look at you favorably.]

“Then the LGUs are there to audit these establishments. If they audit, tapos hindi nagko-comply, nagva-violate, then puede siyang bawian ng Safety Seal [If they audit and they did not comply, and commit violations, then their Safety Seal may be taken back],” he said.

The latest resolution has stronger language compared to its precursor IATF Resolution No. 85, which only covered state agencies and local government units and only “urged” private establishments to use the app.

The task force said it “adopted” the “recommendations” of Nograles in wording the stricter directive in a bid to beef up contact tracing. The resolution also comes in the wake of contact-tracing czar Benjamin Magalong’s remarks that efforts to track down those exposed to COVID-19 remained weak.

StaySafe.ph was first introduced in April, but local government units and private establishments have been given the flexibility to choose their own systems and technologies in complying with government-mandated health and safety protocols.

“What we want to do is integrate the different contact tracing apps of different LGUs with the StaySafe app so that everything is integrated into one system,” Nograles said.

"And whenever that system discovers that patient A or patient Z has contracted the COVID-19 virus then it makes it easier for all of us to do contact tracing," he added. “It’s really our way of building up consumer confidence.”

IATF Resolution No. 87 also mandates the departments of trade, health, labor, interior and local government, tourism and transportation to write a joint memorandum detailing the requirements in securing a Safety Seal.