SoCot contact tracing app to be showcased in UN summit

SoCot contact tracing app to be showcased in UN summit

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – South Cotabato province’s innovative coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Contact Tracing System (SC-CCTS) will be showcased in an international leader’s summit on Thursday (Sept. 24), in line with the United Nations General Assembly.

Jennifer Bretaña, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, said Monday the SC-CCTS was chosen by the UN-supported Open Government Partnership (OGP) as among the eight best practices in the world in terms of “open” response and recovery efforts against the disease.

She said these are initiatives that were done with proper public consultation, have engagements with the civil society, and adopted mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability.

“We are happy that they also noticed our efforts here against Covid-19,” Bretaña told reporters.

Among those invited to join the summit, which will be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, are heads of states and leaders of international civil society organizations (CSO), she said.

She said a locally produced video about the SC-CCTS will be presented by OGP during the event.

OGP advocates the “idea that an open government is more accessible, more responsive, and more accountable to citizens and that improving the relationship between people and their government has long-term, exponential benefits for everyone,” its website said.

It is a broad partnership that involves national government agencies and local governments as well as CSOs in 78 countries, including the Philippines.

South Cotabato was among the local government units that committed to implementing “open government” practices in a series of roadshows launched by the national government in 2018.

SC-CCTS, which was launched by the provincial government in June, functions as an electronic or digital logbook.

Through the quick response or QR-coded identification cards (ID), it logs and tracks the movement of registered residents in establishments, offices, and even in local events and activities, making the tracking and identification of close contacts of Covid-19 patients faster.

Bretaña said the SC-CCTS, which is now being replicated in other areas in Region 12 (Soccsksargen), was chosen because of the successful rollout of the system and its “inclusivity.”

She said Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., who conceptualized the system, wanted from the start to introduce a contract tracing system that can cover all residents, even those that don’t have smartphones.

Its development, which was spearheaded by the informational technology unit of the provincial government, underwent a series of consultations with concerned stakeholders, especially the CSOs, she said.

“The system went through a lot of enhancements as a result of the consultations, including the adoption of data protection and safeguard mechanisms and the creation of its own audit team,” Bretaña added. (PNA)

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