Former Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio cautioned the government against relying on its official contact-tracing app StaySafe to contain COVID-19.

Rio said that the app does not have the necessary features to cover the entire population of the Philippines. The app requires smartphones that are 3G above-capable while millions of Filipinos still rely on 2G phones.

He pointed out that the government “would never be able to flatten this pandemic curve” if it will solely depend on a single app. “The app also needs mobile Internet connectivity, of which 40% of the country has no or poor connectivity,” Rio added.

Rio also expressed his concern on the fact that “the IATF accepted only StaySafe without any technical vetting” among other IT companies that offered their apps to the government.

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