MICROSOFT Philippines, technology developers and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) have worked together to develop tools and applications to help the government combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a statement, technology company Microsoft Philippines said it collaborated with DoST and information technology (IT) developers, entrepreneurs, students, and enthusiasts from Developers Connect Philippines (DEVCON) to “develop digital solutions to address the COVID-19 situation in the country.”

“Among the platforms developed were RapidPassPH and, applications that help the government identify authorized vehicles and personnel and give access to map-verified COVID-19 cases, respectively,” it added.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has been tasked to oversee the implementation of the RapidPass System, which allows for “faster” identification throughout the various checkpoints in the National Capital Region.

The platform, which is equipped with an up-to-date list of hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 cases, allows users to anonymously share location data to facilitate close contact detection in the event that a user tests positive for COVID-19.

“The applications are powered by Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, which enables developers to expand their projects and allow their apps to run on a high-volume file storage database. Under Azure, DCTx developers also ensure that all data gathered from the applications are secured and protected in compliance with the law,” Microsoft Philippines said.

Microsoft Philippines Country General Manager Andres Ortola was quoted as saying: “Our mission as an organization remains the same, more so now in the face of this global pandemic. Finding a solution will require massive amounts of synergy and we’re committed to providing people and organizations with the support they need to turn the tide against COVID-19 — both here in the Philippines and across the globe.”

For his part, DevCon Philippines President Winston Damarillo said: “It is during these times that we are called upon as a community to address problems strategically, and build sustainable, innovative solutions to fight this pandemic. Through this collaboration, we aim to bring the brilliant ideas of Filipino innovators into real-life impact to help the country in its time of need.”

“We are grateful to our partners and sponsors from the government and the private sector, who generously supported this initiative and invested in the rich local tech community in the Philippines,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin