Cagayan De Oro City

Cagayan de Oro business leaders frown on Higala app dry run

Herbie Gomez
Citizens have to download a QR code through a special app developed for the city in order to enter establishments, but the process has suffered glitches

Cagayan de Oro’s premier business group frowned on city hall’s planned dry run of a new local law requiring people to show QR codes before they are allowed to enter establishments.

Ruben Vegafria, president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Oro Chamber), said the city government announced the dry run without clear guidelines.

“Who will participate, and who will shoulder the costs of this dry run?” asked Vegafria.

The city council on Monday, April 5, suspended the full implementation of City Ordinance No. 14023-2021, otherwise known as the “Higala App” city law, for a month after the Oro Chamber submitted a position paper that sought a review of the new measure, which aims to put in place a system that would ensure efficient local COVID-19 contact-tracing work. The start of implementation was originally scheduled for April 7, but was held back until the first week of May.

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Cagayan de Oro suspends QR code ordinance after businesses speak up

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The law states that citizens have to download a QR code through a special app developed for the city, but the process has suffered glitches due to heavy online traffic in the past days, with many complaining of being unable to access the site.

Vegafria also said that city hall has not been clear about what establishments were expected to do in case WiFi signals were too weak, unstable, or unavailable for people to access the app.

Councilor George Goking acknowledged that the city ordinance left many issues and concerns unanswered, and said that the city council committee would start public consultations on April 14 to hopefully iron out the kinks.

In its position paper, the Oro Chamber described the Higala app ordinance as “redundant, restrictive, punitive, and risky.” The city law threatens erring business establishments with fines and closure for non-compliance. – Rappler.com