Davao City to require contact tracing forms for travelers into the city

Apr. 13, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Davao city government will soon require persons traveling into the city to submit a contact tracing form as part of curbing the transmission of Covid-19.

This comes after the city council passed an ordinance during their session last Thursday, April 9, on the mandatory submission of health and other emergencies contact tracing form entering Davao City by land, air or sea.

The ordinance’s proponent, Councilor Maria Joselle Villafuerte who chairs the council’s Committee on Health, said the ordinance adopts one of the guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH) on contact tracing.

“One of the means by which contact tracing is effected is through the collection of specific personal data from those who suit the profile of persons of interest as specified by the DOH,” Villafuerte said.

In the ordinance, the City Health Office (CHO) shall coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure the implementation. The CHO shall also verify and keep these records.

The contact tracing covers all persons seeking entry to the city and also those transiting the city to another location.

Concerns were raised by third district Councilor Alberto Ungab on the implementation of the contact tracing form, pointing out this may cost congestion in the city’s three entry points by land to fill out the forms.

“Did you ever consider how you are going to implement that in the entry points from the north, from the south, and from the west by land? Imagine the traffic now without those CTF, the traffic is so very heavy in just the TF sections. Do you ever consider what will happen if you implement that?” Ungab asked Villafuerte during the deliberation.

Councilor Jesus Zozobrado also said this ordinance may go against the law on the freedom of movement of the public, and argued that with the council’s suspended rules, there is limited time to discuss the implementation of the ordinance.

Villafuerte said her committee is open for amendments and this can be deliberated later after the enhanced quarantine is lifted.

Under the ordinance, persons are required to fill up their personal information including name, age, birthdate, nationality, and sex.

Travel information will be taken such as information details on flight, bus and vessel number, name of hotel and residence.

Other information may be applicable such as residence address, phone number, vehicle information, and medical history.

Penalties are imposed on failure to submit the contact tracing form or falsifying information, which includes a fine of Php 5,000 or imprisonment of up to one year.

The filing of civil and criminal cases for such offense is provided by Republic Act 11332 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases.

The ordinance said all collected data shall be a property of the City of Davao and shall be treated as private and confidential and shall be used for tracing persons in the event of public health emergencies and concerns.

Persons in charge of the distribution shall be subject to the provisions of the Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.(davaotoday.com)

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