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Velasco reso seeks creation of unified contact tracing protocol

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has filed a resolution urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to create a unified contact tracing protocol to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through House Resolution 1536, Velasco underscored the need for a national contact tracing protocol that will ensure a more effective health emergency data monitoring system in the country.

Velasco said the contact tracing system in the Philippines was able to identify at least seven contacts of a COVID-19 patient, which is far from the ideal contact tracing ratio of 1:37 for urban areas and 1:30 in rural communities.

He said the proposed unified national contact tracing protocol should include the designation of a certain government agency that will serve as the centralized repository of information to facilitate a faster health emergency response system.

“It is observed that there is poor interconnection and data sharing between solution providers and the central database maintained by the Department of Health,” Velasco said in a press release.

“Some sectors have also expressed concern on unknown and unverified data privacy practices of various solution providers, including non-compliance with the data privacy law.”

According to Velasco, the protocol must include a secured, encrypted transmission of data and a unified data procedure for solution providers that is in compliance with Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

He said data sharing agreements between local and national jurisdictions should be established to ensure timely and accurate data collection and sharing.

In November 2020, the national government’s task force against COVID-19 ordered the consolidation of data from digital contact tracing applications.

Mobile application became the government’s digital contact tracing application of choice and was made mandatory for adoption and use in all national government agencies as well as local government units. —KBK, GMA News