StaySafe.PH, the country’s COVID tracking application, is not ‘highly reliable,’ according to contact-tracing czar and Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Magalong on Tuesday (May 4) expressed uncertainty over the app’s reliability, saying it’s lacking in the necessary documentation to back up its claims of being an effective tracing app for COVID-19 cases. 

“Insofar as the DILG is concerned, nasa study and learning status pa po sila. Yan po yung talagang kulang pa po ang documentation na binigay ng StaySafe kaya hindi pa po natin makumpleto at masabing categorically na highly reliable na po itong StaySafe,” he shared. 

Magalong noted that the app – developed by MultiSys Technologies Corporation – was even rejected by the Department of Health. 

He revealed that DOH and MultiSys had a falling out, which he attributes to disagreements in the turning over of the tracking system. The application was then donated to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In an email to Manila Bulletin, MultiSys denied Magalong’s statements. The app developer said they chose to turn over the tracing app to DILG as they were the agency handling contact tracing efforts.

“It was not rejected by DOH, it was MultiSys who decided to donate to DILG since DILG was assigned to do the contact tracing efforts thru LGUs,” the company explained. 

“We’re able to provide all source codes and database to DILG already. However, Multisys still need to conduct workshops, provide several product documentation and do technology transfer to DILG for them to understand all of the functionalities of StaySafe. In the next 2 weeks, we aim to be able to perform those thru workshops and make sure that DILG can fully operate StaySafe thru technology transfer and system seminars,” MultiSys explained.

Last year, the application was embroiled in a similar controversy, specifically after it was mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) as its official contact tracing application.

Various sectors, privacy advocates, and IT experts opposed the move, calling the application ‘borderline spyware‘ due to its suspicious permission requests. 

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Image credit: Baguio City Public Information Office