Chooks 3x3 to use contact tracing app to monitor teams

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2020 05:27 PM | Updated as of Aug 10 2020 09:14 PM

Chooks 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano. Handout

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 plans to use a contact tracing application to monitor its teams, in an effort to ensure their safety when the league resumes training, and later, when it holds its actual games.

Recently granted professional status by the Games and Amusements Board, Chooks 3x3 has put together a stringent set of protocols for all its 12 teams, as they hope to get their season started by September.

According to league commissioner Eric Altamirano, the teams will practice in a centralized venue -- the Epsilon Chi Center in the UP Diliman campus. The league's health officer, Dr. Butch Ong of UP Science and Society Program, will oversee the protocol for practices.

"May clinic siya doon sa training facility," Altamirano explained in an interview with Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News. "So he should be able to monitor and oversee our practices." 

"So if there's any symptoms manifested from one of our players, andoon siya, he should be able to check that and make the decision to isolate and quarantine a certain player," he added.

The season, which is tentatively scheduled to start in September, will take place in a secure environment at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna. Altamirano has already put together a strict protocol for the competition -- everyone who enters the "bubble" will have to be tested for COVID-19 five days before entry, and on the day they go in, they will undergo another rapid test.

Teams will play the first leg on Friday, be tested again on Saturday, and play the second leg on Sunday. They will leave the Inspire Sports Academy on Sunday night, once the games are over. It will be a closed campus, with no fans and no family members allowed. 

Once players enter, they cannot leave the "bubble" until the second leg is finished.

To make sure that the players are safe and to keep their bubble secure, Chooks 3x3 partnered with GET Philippines Inc. to make use of its contact tracing tool.

"They have a very advanced technology when it comes to contact tracing," Altamirano said. "We've already used that in our meetings with team owners, and sobrang helpful siya talaga. You can monitor the movements of the players, in and out of the playing venue."

In an email to ABS-CBN News, Toby Lim of GET Philippines explained that the app works through the "GETOGETHER Ecosystem," which makes use of the GET-PASS app, the GETPRO app, and a backend system known as GETSET.

"The GET-PASS App serves as a member’s identification, and will generate personal QR codes that players, coaches, and other personnel can use to scan into designated game venues, practice facilities, and vehicles," Lim explained.

The GETPRO Monitor App is then downloaded by security, health officers, and other designated monitors who use the app to scan and record whenever a player enters and exits a certain venue -- for example, the Epsilon Chi Center and the Inspire Sports Academy.

Data from the app is sent to the backend system, wherein it can be viewed by selected administrators. 

"If a player leaves the training venue, and for some reason, kailangan niya pumunta ng grocery and he did not go straight home, makikita 'yun doon," Altamirano said.

"Kahit na wala kang signal, it will work," he also said. "You might be in a place na walang signal, it will still work."

Lim explained that the app was originally designed as a "contactless fare management system" for its electric minibus called the COMET. During the pandemic, however, they were able to adapt their system so that it can be used on other vehicles, events, and other establishments.

"Now, we are able to provide a holistic contract tracing system for anyone in need of it," he said. 

GET Philippines offered its tool to Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, noting that the app "does not require (the league) to purchase any extra hardware to use."

Altamirano said they hope that other leagues will also make use of the technology, with PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial already planning to meet with him in order to discuss the app.

Lim, meanwhile, said they can adapt the system to fit the needs of the other leagues.

"In fact, when the leagues are eventually made open to the pubic, the ecosystem can also be used as a ticketing system during games and other events," he said.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).