News all systems go, says Palace; reliability yet to be seen, says Magalong


Contact tracing czar Benjamin Magalong and President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman on Tuesday issued what appeared to be contrasting statements as regards the, the contact tracing app developed for the country.

While Magalong raised the Department of Healths's supposed misgivings about the application, developed by private firm MultiSys, Secretary Harry Roque said all controversies regarding the online tool had been resolved.

"It remains to be seen if this contact tracing app is highly reliable," Magalong said at the Laging Handa briefing when asked if was already operational.

Magalong said the DOH claimed that the app still required further study.

He said MultiSys wanted to first turn over the app before the government could further study its program.

"I understand the DOH wants to inspect the source code, production data and other functionalities. Ang sabi naman ng StaySafe, pwede po ba ay i-turn over muna namin bago namin ibigay sa inyo ang susi. Hindi nagkaintindihan," Magalong said.

[StaySafe.PH, on the other hand, wants to turn the house first before giving the key. That was the stalemate.]

Asked to comment on Magalong's remarks, Roque everything regarding the app had been taken care of.

He said it was already being used by the Department of Interior and Local Government which supervised contract tracers, with assistance from the Department of Information and Communications Technology.


"Lahat ng kontrobersiya sa app na 'to, natapos na. Lahat ng kailangang i-donate, na-donate na sa government. Ito po'y ginagamit na, pinapatupad na ng DILG, technical assistance is being provided by DICT," Roque said.

[All the controversies regarding this app have been resolved. It was already donated to the government. The app is being used, DILG is implementing it, with assistance from DICT.]

"It is all systems go," he added.

Magalong also said that the ideal ratio of contract tracing has been revised to 1:37 from 1:15 for easier operationalization given that new variants of coronavirus are more transmissible.

"This is realistic," Magalong said.

"Contract tracing has been our weakest link, that is why we are really focusing on improving this," Magalong added.

Magalong earlier said that the government would retrain 249,000 contact tracers due to emergence of new variants of coronavirus.

The Philippines has 69,466 active COVID-19 cases as of May 3.

Of this number, 7,255 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on May 3. —NB, GMA News