StaySafe developer: Govt currently not maximizing, implementing all app features

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 27) — The government hasn't been able to maximize the national contact tracing app StaySafe at the moment, its developer said.

"Nung na-donate namin ang StaySafe sa DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), ang isang inaasahan namin ay ma-activate lahat ng features ng StaySafe," David Almirol Jr., founder & chief executive officer of MultiSys Technologies Corp., told CNN Philippines' The Exchange.

[Translation: When we donated StaySafe to the DILG, among our expectations was the activation of all its features.]

While Almirol acknowledged that the DILG was able to take over the system "over a short period of time," he said the app has features other than being a digital logbook.

StaySafe can also be used to inquire whether a person entering an establishment is COVID-19-positive, Almirol added.

The app earlier made the news again after Health Secretary Francisco Duque criticized its supposedly limited impact. DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing and Contact Tracing czar Benjamin Magalong, however, defended StaySafe. 

Contact tracing is often referred to as the weakest link in the country's COVID-19 pandemic response.

Integration key to sustaining contact tracing efforts

Almirol also emphasized the importance of linking contact tracing efforts by local authorities, the national government, and the private sector with StaySafe.

"Kailangan mag-integrate tayo. 'Yun yung matagal na naming inaasahan na mangyari nung na-donate namin ang StaySafe sa government...API-based lang naman po 'yan, hindi po mahirap gawin," he explained.

[Translation: We need to integrate. This is what we've been expecting to happen for so long since we donated StaySafe to the government. It's just API (application programming interface)-based, it's not hard to do.]

AppCase Inc. co-founder and business development director Hancy Narida said they are gearing up for integration with other providers like StaySafe, but are still awaiting for a policy to be drafted by ICT authorities.

The developer handles the contact tracing platforms of Valenzuela, Pasig, and Mandaluyong, along with Antipolo and Taytay, Rizal - which have already been integrated. Users of any of these platforms may use their generated QR codes among the five applications instead of manually filling up their details.