CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PNA) –The local government here started implementing Monday a digitized contact tracing system for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through the “Higala App,” a Quick Response (QR)-based information database system.

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The three-step guide in registering to the Higala App, a QR code-based contact tracing system for Covid-19 that is beginning to be implemented in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday (Nov. 9, 2020).  (Image courtesy of City Government of Cagayan de Oro/ PNA/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Acting City Administrator Teodoro A. Sabuga-a, Jr. said that while there was no ordinance mandating compliance, the public was advised to register to the QR system to help the city provide timely intervention on COVID-19 cases.

Sabuga-a said cooperation should start with barangay officials, who were asked by the local government late last week to disseminate information about the web-based contact tracing system, and to lead in registering their constituents on Higala App.

“As government implementors, we should serve as an example to everyone),” Sabuga-a said.

He said the City Council’s Committee on Health, led by City Councilor, Dr. Lourdes Gaane, is set to craft an ordinance, institutionalizing the use of Higala App on all public and commercial transactions within the city.

Accessibility, privacy

Because not all residents have smartphones or computers, Sabugaa said the local government has put up help desks at the City Hall to help people register and have their QR codes printed.

The same process, he said, was being observed for inbound passengers in airports and seaports who intend to visit this city or are returning home here.

“The establishments should at least have smartphones to scan the QR codes so that the clients would only bring out their QR codes (printed or stored in their phones),” he said.

Sabuga-a also assured the safety of information entered in obtaining the QR codes, saying only the City Health Office’s Health Emergency Management Staff (CHO-Hems) have access to the data.

When logging in for registration online through higala.cagayandeoro.gov.ph, he advised the public to read the “Data Privacy Notice” first.

Meanwhile, business establishments who are still transitioning to the Higala App system may continue with the manual recording of information through printed forms, according to lawyer Jose Edgardo Uy, head of the City’s Economic Cluster and Regulatory Compliance Board. 

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