Valenzuela Tracing (ValTrace) Application. (Screengrab from Valenzuela City PIO video material)

MANILA – The Valenzuela city government on Saturday began to roll out the Valenzuela Tracing Application (ValTrace app) with the use of a quick response (QR) code system. 

The city government has passed Ordinance 783 s.2020, mandating Valenzuela and non-Valenzuela residents to register and download their own QR codes starting September 12, as part of the city's preventive measures against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Under the ordinance, QR codes shall be presented upon entering enclosed indoor establishments within the city.

The city government said the traditional practice of manual logging of customers, visitors, and employees in contact tracing forms before entering an establishment could cause direct contact with possible carriers of the virus and is thus "highly discouraged."

Valenzuela City instead established an automated contact tracing system through the use of QR codes to provide safe, timely, and more complete contact identification and follow-up compared to the traditional system.

The city government has partnered with Appcase, Inc. to develop the ValTrace app, which will log basic information and provide a unique QR code for each individual and establishment.

Both establishments and individuals are required to register in the ValTrace app by signing up at http://valtrace.appcase.net as "Citizen" (for the individual) and as "Merchant" (for the establishment).

The registrant will automatically be provided with a unique ValTrace-generated QR code, which can be stored on their phone or printed for a physical copy.

Meanwhile, the establishments should install a QR scanner software for the ValTrace app to allow users to scan the QR codes before entering an establishment.

The registration is free-of-charge.

The city government mandated the use of the ValTrace through the “No QR Code, No Entry” policy in the city's establishments, which will be effective starting November 16.

On the other hand, it said the QR codes that would be collected from the registered establishments, including the user's personal information, would be transmitted to the Valenzuela Central Contact Tracing System at the Mega Contact Tracing Center, which will be useful to the government's contact tracing efforts amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

All customers, visitors, and employees of public and private establishments are not allowed to enter premises unless they present their own ValTrace-generated unique personal QR Code, the city government said.

"The QR codes shall not replace the use of the Quarantine Pass as it is still in effect in Valenzuela City when entering establishments for purposes of essential travel. There will only be one QR code per person," it added.

The ordinance stated that individuals who will violate the contact tracing efforts would be fined PHP1,000 for the first offense and PHP3,000 for the second offense. For the third and succeeding offenses, one would be penalized with a PHP5,000 fine and/or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, subject to the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, non-compliant establishments will be penalized with a PHP5,000 fine and suspension of franchise or business permit until the violation has been rectified for the first offense, and PHP10,000 with 24 hours of community service and suspension of franchise or business permit until the violation has been corrected for the second offense.

For the third and succeeding offenses, the establishment will be fined PHP15,000 and its franchise or business permit would be revoked. 

The city government assured the public that it would "handle all information gathered from the data subjects with the highest degree of confidentiality and will securely dispose of (them) after 30 days from the time (they) were collected." (PNA)