DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite the delay of the implementation of the Safe Davao QR Code (DQR), the Davao City Council passed an ordinance making this system mandatory for contact tracing and stipulated fines for violators.
The ordinance, authored by First District Councilor Melchor Quitain Jr, residents and establishments, and visitors to the city are required to have a DQR code for the purpose of contactless data gathering and storage to fast track contact tracing of COVID-19 cases.
The ordinance stipulated that the DQR shall be used for essential activities and business or work purposes. Establishments including government and private offices, restaurants, hotels, event venues, malls, stores, groceries, mini-marts, places of worship, educational institutions, other organizations and their sub-offices or branches, and even carinderia and markets are required to implement the system.
Penalties are imposed on persons who use the DQR for “non-essential” purposes, use cancelled DQR codes, and refuse to present the code for scanning and inspection when asked by persons of authority.
A person found violating the ordinance will be penalized with P500 for the first offense, P 1,000 or an option of community service or both for second time offense, and a P1,5000 or one-month imprisonment or both for third offense.
Persons found tampering or hacking the online system will face prosecution for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and other violations under the Data Privacy Act.
Establishments or juridical entity found violating the ordinance will have its manager, president or officer-in-charge face penalties. Public officials or employees will face administrative charges pursuant to the Local Government Code of 1991 or the Civil Service Law.
Barangay officials, Davao City Police Office, Task Force Davao, and other authorized enforcers are authorized to enforce the ordinance.
Quitain said in an interview that the ordinance took time to pass as it conducted four committee hearings that invited “75 offices” to discuss issues surrounding the implementation of the DQR Code.
“This ordinance is not made abruptly like we just made it and sign. No, there is a series of discourse about this to ensure legality,” Quitain told Davao Today.
The councillor stressed that the city council’s task on the DQR ordinance is to see if the provisions are all legal and clarified that the implementations will still be up to the executive body of the city government after some legislators have also raised concerns about the implementation of the DQR.
Councilors raised concerns during the second reading about the security of DQR system which was raised by concerned information technology experts, a matter which Quitain assured that the city government has the technical capability to manage the system.
“I don’t think people will have an interest in hacking since it’s only basic information stored in the system. And the city has the technical capacity to protect our privacy,” he said.
The system is backed by the City Information Technology Center which stated the information is controlled by the city government.
Quitain also clarified that the data provided by the public in the DQR will be used solely only for contact tracing, and will be properly disposed when the pandemic will end.
Another concern was how authorities enforced the checking of the DQR on all motorists and public transport passengers during the first few days of the implementation last November 23 which caused traffic congestions.
Quitain said this matter was raised during one of the committee hearings where law enforcers were advised to only conduct random checking of DQR as the system will be primarily used for persons checking in on establishments.
The DQR is still under gradual implementation in selected establishments such as government offices and malls, as the city government explained that scanners are still being acquired for the system.
SunStar Davao reported that around 76,000 establishments have registered but are undergoing verification. (davaotoday.com)davao city, qr code, Safe Davao QR, Safe Davao QR Code