Palace says 'all systems go' for COVID-19 contact-tracing app; official says otherwise

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2021 03:54 PM

Passengers a contact tracing app launched by MRT-3 at the North Avenue Station in Quezon City on Jan. 18, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday said it's "all systems go" for a contact-tracing app that government hopes would improve the country's COVID-19 response, but an official contradicted this. 

The interior department is already using the StaySafe app, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 

“Lahat po ng kontrobersiya sa app na ito ay natapos na. Lahat po ng kinakailangan i-donate ay nai-donate na po sa Philippine government,” he said in a press briefing 

“We have decided to go full speed ahead... All systems go na po tayo.”

(All controversies surrounding this app has ended. All that needs to be donated has been donated. We have decided to go full speed ahead. We are all systems go.)

But in a public briefing earlier Tuesday, contact-tracing “czar” and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the interior department was still studying the app. 

“Talagang kulang pa ho iyong documentation na ibinigay ng StaySafe kaya hindi pa ho natin makumpleto at masabing categorically na highly reliable itong StaySafe,” he said. 

(The documentation that StaySafe gave us was insufficient so we can't complete it yet and categorically say that this is highly reliable.) 

Authorities should ideally trace 37 close contacts for every patient with COVID-19. However, the country's actual record is at 4 contacts traced for every coronavirus patient, Magalong said. 

“To be honest with you, it’s still the weakest link among the pillars,” he said of contact-tracing. 

“Talagang nakatutok po kami sa mga local government units kasi ang local government units naman talaga ho ang kailangan mag-conduct ng contact-tracing,” added the official.

(We are really focused on local governments because they conduct the contact-tracing.)

The country has tallied 1,062,225 infections, of which 69,466 were active as of Monday. 


Video courtesy of PTV