In celebration of the 31st National Statistics Month, the National Economic and Development Authority, Western Visayas (NEDA-VI) held a webinar, “Managing COVID-19 through Digital Platform Applications” on October 28, 2020, via Zoom.

The webinar featured locally-developed applications that facilitate early detection and contact tracing, dissemination of information, and crowd sourcing.

“The NSM theme, Bridging Digital Gaps: Making Information Available to All, is a tribute to the indispensable role of information and communications technology in increasing our resilience and ability to adapt to the new normal,” said NEDA Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal in her Opening Message.

The Reverse Isolation and Contact Tracing Application or RIsC TrAp was presented by no less than Governor Arthur R. Defensor, Jr. of the Province of Iloilo. RIsC TrAp was developed by the Information and Communication Technology Management Office (ICTMO)to boost the capability of both local government units and Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) in monitoring those who are suspected to have COVID-19. Among RIsC TrAp’s features are information of people working and transacting in various businesses or offices in a particular town.  It also takes into consideration in tracking where many people converge such as government offices, fishing ports or markets.

The Officer-in-Charge of the Information and Communications Technology Department of  Bacolod City, Mr. Ramon C. de los Reyes presented the second application which is the Bacolod City Covid-19 Contact Tracing System. The “BaCTrac” is a web-based and mobile-based app developed originally by the Government of South Cotabato, for efficient and expeditious contact tracing of confirmed Covid-19 positive patients in the city and, consequently, allow the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Task Force to easily locate people suspected of having contact with COVID-19 patients. Over 200,000 Bacolodnons have already registered in the system since its launch in September 2020.

Finally, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Unit Head of the Department of Science and Technology, Engr. Ryan Vilmor J. Dumpit introduced the third application which is the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-PaSS). The S-PaSS is a web-based travel and mobility management system primarily intended to manage the travels of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI), Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF), Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) and Emergency Travelers (ET). The local mobility management system component of S-PaSS is a smart digital logbook that replaces the usual manual logbook and pen that could be a possible source of contamination. The eLogbook is versatile enough that it can be used by establishments and institutions. The S-Pass also has an offline version which is ideal for areas with unreliable internet connection.

In closing, NEDA-VI ARD Arecio A. Casing, Jr. said that this pandemic has triggered an unprecedented demand for digital technology solutions and has revealed successful solutions such as for contact tracing, prioritizing the use and allocation of resources, and in designing targeted responses. He added in the coming months there will be a greater need for communities to come together, thus collaboration in developing digital solutions will be a lifeline for our local communities during these challenging times.

The 3-hour webinar, attended by over 120 participants was an initiative of the NEDA-VI Development Research Division in support of the 31st NSM Celebration. The NSM is celebrated in October of every year pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 647 signed by then President Corazon C. Aquino on September 20, 1990.  The NSM aims to: (a) promote, enhance, and instill awareness and appreciation of the importance and value of statistics to the different sectors of the society; and (b) elicit the cooperation and support of the general public in upgrading the quality and standards of statistics in the country. (CPGaitana/NEDA)