Pilot-testing of Safe Davao QR expected done by first week of February

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 January) – The pilot testing of the city’s Safe Davao QR (DQR) system may be completed by first week of February, Mayor Sara Duterte announced on Monday.

Mayor Sara Duterte. Photo from the City Government of Davao Facebook page

Once completed, she said in her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), enforcement of the DQR, an electronic contact tracing and travel pass platform to implement contactless gathering and electronic storage data within the city, will be mandatory.

She said the pilot testing started last Friday, notifying individuals through SMS that they are “in the same area as the COVID-19 confirmed case” and instructing them to self-quarantine and monitor any of the COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, dry cough, fatigue, difficulty of breathing, shortness of breath, diarrhea, loss of smell, and loss of taste.

Duterte said individuals who receive text notifications from DQR, in Cebuano and English, must proceed to a swabbing center or contact COVID-19 operations center.

The mayor added that the city will announce when the DQR implementation will be fully implemented. It was supposed to have been implemented effective November 7, 2020 but was reset to November 23 as thousands complained over the inaccessibility of the registration site which eventually crashed.

Information technology experts and professionals also warned of security risks in the system itself, pointing out vulnerabilities that could, if left unchecked, lead to breach of data privacy. Another service provider had to take over to address the concerns.

On December 7, the City Council passed an ordinance mandating the use of the DQR system by all individuals, residents or non-residents, who need to enter the city for essential or work/business purposes. Establishments such as government and private offices, event venues, hospitals, hotels, malls, stores, groceries, mini-marts, restaurants, carinderia, markets, places of worship, educational institutions and all other organizations, including their sub-offices or branches, are also required to implement the system.

The ordinance penalizes individuals who take advantage of the DQR for “non-essential” purposes, use cancelled DQR codes, or refuse to present valid codes for scanning or inspection when required by persons of authority.

Under the ordinance, first time-offenders will be penalized with a reprimand; a fine of P500 or community service, or both, for second time-offenders; and a fine of P1,500 or month imprisonment, or both, for the third-time offenders.

The ordinance likewise prescribes the penalty of P500 for first offense, P1,000 for second offense, and P1,500 or one month imprisonment, or both, for third offense, for the following prohibited acts: lending of personal DQR to another person, use and possession of a fake DQR, use of a fake ID, birth certificate, and business registration number, or another individual’s ID or birth certificate or another’s business registration number to register for a DQR, making or selling fake identifies for DQR registration, and hacking of the DQR system and or identity theft.

It added that any person guilty of tampering with or hacking the online link will be prosecuted for cybercrimes under Republic Act 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act) and any violations involving RA 10173 (Data Privacy Act).

The Task Force Davao, Davao City Police Office, City Health Office, and barangay officials have been directed to strictly enforce the ordinance.

As of January 18, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 194 new cases, bringing the regional total to 15,200: Davao City with 10,473; Davao de Oro 741; Davao del Norte 2,041; Davao del Sur 1,103; Davao Occidental 165 and Davao Oriental 677.

Davao City’s 10,473 cases include 1,525 active, 8,463 recoveries and 485 deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)