Gov’t to roll out ‘RapidPass’ checkpoint pass for frontliners

Even with the majority of streets around Metro Manila almost deserted, checkpoints placed around the city are experiencing congestion not just with vehicles, but with people as well.

To help prioritize the convenience of health workers passing through checkpoints, a system utilizing Quick Response (QR) codes for quick verification is set for rollout on Monday, April 6.

To create the rapid pass system, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) tapped a community of Filipino developers and IT professionals called Developers Connect (DevCon) as well as the Department of Science and Technology.

RapidPass was made free to use by the global volunteer team of more than 500 Filipino developers dubbed DCTx, formed through DevCon, who released it as an open-source software with the goal of making it available to any country that can tailor fit the platform with their needs.

In an online press briefing, IATF-EID spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the goal of RapidPass is to cut the time of processing in checkpoints and enforce physical distancing, lessen traffic congestion, and enable the free passage of authorized vehicles. 

Meanwhile, Department of Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the system can be adopted even beyond the quarantine period. With open source software, RapidPass can also be utilized as a verification technology in the field of security, he said.

“I hope the Philippine National Police will be able to adopt this for their checkpoints even after the ECQ. This is very useful now because we had confusion last week because of the checkpoints,” Lorenzana said. “We should think of other things where we can use this after the lockdown.”

The developers of the system said printing the pass is better than presenting it on a mobile phone. The pass can be placed on windshields or side windows, or folded small enough to fit a regular ID case.

The registration process can be both fulfilled individually or per organization. When processed in bulk or per individual and registered on the online database, approval will take a few hours and go live by the next day. The passes will then be sent either on the user-provided contact number as an SMS or through email.

There is will no mobile app available for RapidPass. Instead, all registration processes will be accomplished through the website where health workers can also be updated on the status of their applications.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), meanwhile, assured the public that the RapidPass.ph has complied with data privacy requirements and has undergone the agency’s preliminary cybersecurity tests before its kick-off on Monday.

DICT assistant secretary for Digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey Caintic said the RapidPass.ph underwent an initial Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT). He said the DICT has asked DevCon to ensure that all the findings from the VAPT have been addressed, adding that the DICT Cybersecurity Bureau will continue the conduct of VAPT on the system and monitoring of its servers for possible threats.

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