Commuters will soon be required to use an app for contact tracing purposes following the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's (LTFRB) recent announcement. Under the LTFRB's Memorandum Circular 2021-041, all PUV operators are mandated to shift from manual filing of contact tracing forms to the use of the StaySafe.ph app.

The new rule is in line with IATF Resolution No. 87, series of 2020, requiring PUVs to secure a Safety Seal, along with the adoption of the StaySafe application.

PUV operators must display a QR code near the doors of the vehicle and inside as well. Moreover, all passengers must access and use the QR code whenever they board and alight PUVs. All data obtained via the StaySafe app will be made available to the LTFRB for contact tracing purposes and is subject to provisions of the Data Privacy Act.

Use of contact tracing app in PUVs to be mandatory image

The PUV operators have 30 days to comply with the LTFRB directive. Failure to follow will result in a violation of IATF health protocols, along with additional penalties.

“Failure to comply shall be considered as a violation of IATF health protocols, and the corresponding penalties shall be imposed,” said the LTFRB in the new memorandum circular.

With the pandemic still posing a clear and present danger, the LTFRB's directive to make the use of the StaySafe app mandatory could help the government keep track of possible infections. It's all up to the LTFRB and other concerned agencies to enforce this new directive against erring passengers and PUV operators.

The public is also encouraged to download the StaySafe app and register beforehand to get a QR code for themselves. The contact tracing app is available in both Google Play and Apple Store.

But what about commuters that don't have smartphones or don't bother to scan the QR code but wish to ride public transportation? The LTFRB has yet to state what measures they will use against commuters that fail to register or scan the QR code for contact tracing purposes. Hopefully, the agency will come up with solutions, as well as countermeasures to ensure everyone makes use of the app.