The government will start soon the implementation of a virtual identification system called “RapidPass System” aimed at ensuring easier passage through checkpoints for health personnel and those working in essential industries.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said, during a virtual press briefing on Friday, the RapidPass can be requested by frontliners or authorized personnel through the website RapidPass.ph, either on a desktop or a mobile device.
This will be implemented on April 6.
Nograles is the spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the government body supervising efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The announcement of Nograles was made after a meeting with other government officials and the developers of the RapidPass System.
“A unique and secure QR code and control number will be granted to each authorized person or vehicle. The QR code can be printed and placed on the dashboard of one’s vehicle, or shown in the person’s smartphone,” Nograles said.
Those without smartphones or printers can show the control number and a valid ID to authorities manning checkpoints, Nograles said.
Securing a RapidPass is not a requirement for now, Nograles said, even as he guaranteed that the system will limit contact between exempted individuals and personnel manning checkpoints.
“Depending on how the IATF will assess the whole system, if the system is already in place, then maybe we can shift to a mandatory use of the RapidPass,” Nograles said.
It was the Department of Science and Technology that commissioned the creation of RapidPass to Developers Connect, Inc. (DEVCON), a non-profit organization composed of Filipino developers and IT professionals.
President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed strict quarantine measures in Luzon to contain the spread of the deadly virus, including sweeping restrictions on travel and mass gatherings, as well as closure of schools and most businesses.
Duterte declared a state of public health emergency on Monday, March 9, after health officials recorded additional cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, including the first case of local transmission in the Philippines.
In Proclamation No. 922 signed on Sunday, March 8, and released to media on Monday, Duterte ordered all government agencies and local government units to cooperate and mobilize necessary resources to combat the coronavirus.
Duterte’s declaration was based on the recommendation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who earlier raised the Philippines’ coronavirus alert system to Code Red-Sublevel 1, due to the first case of local transmission.
Duque earlier said that a state of public health emergency “will facilitate the mobilization of resources, ease processes including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, and intensify reporting and quarantine measures.”/Stacy Ang