COVID-19 patients told to tell the truth, divulge key info for contact tracing
MANILA, Philippines — Confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients cannot refuse to divulge their personal information to the government, the inter-agency task force on the health crisis said Monday.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging and Infectious Disease earlier announced the enforcing of mandatory public disclosure of personal information relating to COVID-19 carriers to beef up the government’s contact tracing efforts.
In a virtual press briefing, IATF spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said patients “cannot refuse” or provide false information to the government, citing Republic Act 11332 or the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act”.
“Napakaliwanag po niyan, hindi puwedeng humindi sila kapag tinatanong sila at kailagnan magsabi sila ng totoo,” Nograles said.
In enforcing the new policy, he noted that the government will harmonize RA11332 and RA 10173 or the “Data Privacy Act of 2021” to balance the disclosure of information for public interest and the protection of individual privacy.
But those who will refuse to follow the policy will be punished in accordance with the RA 11332, Nograles said.
The Palace official likewise clarified that the information will not be kept confoidential.
He said that the Department of Health (DOH) will serve as the repository of the information and policymaker for the expanded contact tracing measure.
The data may be shared with the Office of the Civil Defense, who has been tasked to lead the contact tracing, the Philippine National Police, and local government units who will serve as “enforcers” of the policy, Nograles explained.
“Pero sa lahat ng bagay na ito…kailangan mananatili pa rin po ‘yung Data Privacy Law natin. Lahat ng public officials should be mindful of the provisions of the Data Privacy,” he added.
Nograles, however, did not explain how much information or what kind of personal details the patients would be required to disclose to the government or DOH.
The Philippines as of Sunday confirmed 4,648 cases of the respiratory disease, with 297 deaths and 197 patients who recovered.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.