High-tech lockdown enforcement in Cebu: Smart phones required
CEBU CITY—Workers in Cebu province have until Wednesday (Aug. 12) to acquire smart phones if they wanted to cross to Cebu City.
Without smart phones, they won’t be able to download a local app designed for contact tracing which was a requirement for them to be allowed into the city.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia required residents of the province working in Cebu City to have a WeTrace application through which they could apply for a work travel pass (WTP) for free.
But it would need a smart phone.
The implementation of the program was supposed to start on Monday (Aug. 10), but the provincial government decided to move the deadline to Wednesday (Aug. 12) to give workers more time to process their WTP applications.
The provincial government said workers who don’t own smart phones should coordinate with their municipal or city governments for their WTP applications.
But many smart phone users had complained of problems in downloading the provincial government’s WeTrace app because of slow internet which makes it difficult to upload requirements, leads to denial of applications and incompatibility, among other hassles.
“Submitted a worker pass application this morning. Upon checking the app now, it says I did not submit an application,” one user commented on social media.
“They could not even produce a reference number for the submitted application. Other than that, the app will drain your battery as it will always run in the background,” the user said.
“Applied for a work pass twice. All denied. The app says I am offline, but my connection is fast. Still many bugs to fix. I thought the local government had seen through this before the launching of the app. It’s a hassle for workers to download an app to obtain work passes. I prefer physical passes than this,” another user said.
According to Garcia’s Executive Order 20-C dated Aug. 5, workers have to upload digital copies of their medical certificates, company identification (ID) card, certificate of employment and an ID picture to WeTrace so they can have a WTP.
Once approved, the WTP will be sent to the mobile device of the worker who will present this to quarantine checkpoints between the province and city of Cebu, which had been a coronavirus hot spot.
The WTP issued to a worker must include his or her name, photo, address, company name, point of origin, point of destination, the local chief executive’s signature, QR code, and control number.
The provincial government assigns the control numbers.
Garcia said workers with WTPs cannot go anywhere else after they call it a day since the passes limit their movement to home and work.
Bluetooth signals and location notification in the workers’ smart phones must be on at all times, the governor’s EO said.
It said a worker “who deviates from his or her regular route” would have his or her WTP revoked. But before that, the local government which has jurisdiction over the worker would investigate first.
Exemptions included those authorized to leave their homes, health care workers and others on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.
WeTrace was developed for free by Eddie Ybañez, a Cebuano scholar of the Department of Science and Technology.
Law enforcers at border control points were urged to check the WTPs of workers entering the city and returning to their places of residence in the province.
Except for Talisay City, and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion which are under general community quarantine (GCQ), Cebu province is under a looser modified general community quarantine.
The cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu are on GCQ.
In Cebu City, residents who violate quarantine measures face stiff penalties under an ordinance that would take effect on Aug. 16.
Violators will be fined P1,500 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second and P5,000 for the third or 30 days in jail.
Those found guilty will also be disqualified for two years from receiving government aid like cash subsidies and tax amnesty.
The city government may also revoke the business permits or issue a closure order against erring establishments.
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