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Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto (left), Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian (center) and Antipolo City Mayor Andrea Ynares (right) virtually sign an interconnectivity agreement for the PasigPass, ValTrace app, and Antipolo Bantay Covid-19 contact tracing solutions in an undated video. The streamlining of the unified digital contact tracing solutions in the cities of Antipolo and Valenzuela takes effect Monday (Jan. 25, 2021). (Screengrab from Valenzuela City PIO video) / PNA / Rainier Eubra

Pasig, Valenzuela Antipolo integrate contact tracing apps

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The city governments of Pasig, Valenzuela, and Antipolo have partnered to integrate the use of their respective contact tracing applications to boost efforts in the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, and Antipolo Mayor Andrea Ynares forged an interconnectivity agreement in a virtual ceremony aimed at streamlining interconnected digitized contact tracing solutions within their respective areas.

They virtually signed a data-sharing agreement for the Valenzuela Contact Tracing (ValTrace) application, the PasigPass contact tracing app, and the Antipolo Bantay Covid-19 contact tracing solutions.

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The agreement allows the use of quick response (QR) codes in three cities to expand monitoring and contact tracing of Covid-19 patients.

Beginning Jan. 25, Valenzuela's ValTrace app can now be used in Pasig and Antipolo, the PasigPass can be used in Antipolo and Valenzuela, while the Antipolo Bantay Covid-19 QR code solution can also be used in Valenzuela and Pasig.

Gatchalian said the initiative provides a convenient and efficient contact tracing method that can be used anywhere in the three cities.

It will also limit the downloading of many QR code system to be used in various cities, he added.

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"We look forward my fellow residents in Pasig and Antipolo, we look forward to welcoming you to the city of Valenzuela and you can be assured that your QR codes can be used here in the city of Valenzuela," Gatchalian said.

Ynares, meanwhile, cited the importance of unifying efforts to combat the pandemic.

"This integration also hopes to show that we must put value in unity," she said, adding that unity plays a crucial role in the country's response to the prevailing health crisis.

Sotto said the data being collected using the QR code system is very useful in the government's contact tracing efforts.

Using the digital method, Sotto said it could prevent hassles in manually filling out health declaration forms when entering establishments.

"We are alerted if someone who is supposed to be in quarantine tries to enter an establishment. Contact tracers can use the data to evaluate if the person being traced is telling the truth. It can also help identify possible close contacts," he added.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian assured the public that digital contact tracing solutions have a safety net and adequate safeguards which are covered by the data-sharing agreement under Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Gatchalian said the confidentiality of data will be strictly observed and all sensitive information is covered under the agreement.

Various business establishments, including malls and department stores in the cities of Valenzuela, Pasig, and Antipolo have already started implementing a "no QR code, no entry" policy.

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