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Pasig government integrates digital contact tracing with other cities

Local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines are using quick response (QR) codes issued to residents to enhance and provide seamless COVID-19 contact tracing measures and are integrating these codes with systems developed by other city governments. 

Months after implementing its PasigPass QR code system, the local government of Pasig City announced in a media release that it has inked an Interconnectivity Agreement with the LGU of Antipolo City, which would allow Pasig residents to use their QR Codes in its partner city. 

Following the deal, the Pasig government noted that city residents will be able to use their PasigPass codes starting 25 January when they visit and transact with public establishments in the City of Antipolo in Rizal.  

The cities of Valenzuela and Pasig were first to enter into an interconnectivity agreement to integrate their respective QR Code systems, a deal they signed back in December. According to an earlier statement, the city governments of Antipolo and Valenzuela have partnered to provide more comprehensive coverage of digital contact tracing across their localities in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and establish stricter implementations of health protocols. The data-sharing agreement provides that the Valenzuela contact tracing (ValTrace) application and the Bantay Covid-19 contact tracing solution of Antipolo shall be integrated to allow seamless contact tracing. 

In addition to its use in contact tracing processes, government officials said that the QR code system would also help lessen physical transactions in public establishments in the community, as well as discourage the manual filing out of health declaration forms and other public documents. 

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian stressed that the use of QR codes in digital contract tracing services has been proven to be an effective response to healthcare initiatives rolled out by the government in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The same interconnectivity deal was inked this month, this time between Valenzuela and Antipolo City. The signing of this deal means that any resident from the three cities may use his or her QR Code when travelling to any of the other localities, thereby allowing for a more convenient method of contact tracing. 

The Valenzuela City Mayor expressed his appreciation over the interconnectivity deals. He added that: “what’s good about this, is that, our contact tracing efforts were made easier, it’s expanding and becoming more convenient that just one QR code will be accepted in the cities of Pasig, Valenzuela and Antipolo.” 

He also mentioned that as they improve on their existing QR Code systems, they are hopeful that more cities in Metro Manila and other government agencies in the country will join in on their efforts to streamline digital contact tracing methods. 

Data privacy and security 

The Mayor earlier discussed that through the two QR Code systems of Valenzuela and Antipolo, the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Units of the two cities can send notification and alerts if any of their residents are suspected of having had possible contact with COVID-19 patients. He was also quick to assure the public that these systems have sufficient safeguards that would preserve the privacy and confidentiality of data shared. These safeguards are provided for under the data-sharing agreement and adhere to provisions of Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012. 

The Provincial Government of Davao Oriental has likewise adopted its own system to monitor its residents. In a previous report by OpenGov Asia, Davao Oriental authorities said that they are implementing the Davao Oriental Digital Contact Tracing System (DAVOR-DCTS). The programme shall require residents, non-residents and tourists to present their Quick Response or QR Codes for their transactions with various establishments in the area.  

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