By Eryk Katimbang, Shan Manzano, and Nica Llarena (CIIT Media)
During the state of quarantine, Filipinos have been struggling to find a reliable source of information about the growing pandemic. This is why CIITeen Senior Highschool student Paulo Tolentino created an app that tracks the cases of COVID-19.
In an interview, we were able to talk to Tolentino about his application, as well as his intentions and motivations. Tolentino believes in the importance of curiosity, which is the driving force that makes him want to break down concepts – technology-based or not – into their most basic forms, helping him understand how things are made and how things work. To him, this is additional knowledge that he can use in his field.
The tracker was developed to aid Filipinos in receiving up-to-date information about the current situation of the COVID-19 epidemic, as well as to minimize the falsification of data. The app recognizes the number of cases, tests, recoveries, and death within the borders of the Philippines and sends you real-time notifications of any changes in those counts. Because of
this, the user isn’t required to open the app constantly to get information. It also has a directory of hospitals that contain both their contact numbers and addresses, so people can reach out to them in case of emergencies. In line with this, the DOH’s number can also be found within the
app. It took Tolentino a month to create the initial version of this application, mostly bug fixing issues while half of the month was for the release itself. He told us that he did mostly everything by himself but some of the features relied on third-party sources which he credits in his references and links. When asked about the possibility of collaborating with classmates and teachers, he laughed and said that he was available and willing to do them.
The statistics and directories are sourced from the University of the Philippines ’ COVID-19 website and the Department of Health. Some of Tolentino’s earlier sources, however, didn’t have the sufficient data he needed, but his curiosity and drive to resolve problems made him search for answers. By searching, he set up the live feed from DOH with the help of another developer’s program that connected the internet with the data source of DOH.
Today, these features are promising to any Filipino household because the information and news about the pandemic are right at their fingertips. Unfortunately, the app itself cannot be downloaded through the App Store and Google Play as its use is yet to be officially legalized by the Philippine government. To download Paulo Tolentino’s app, you have to head towards his personal Github page, or by going to this link: https://bit.ly/2KXdfiR
With the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, we can only hope that the curve will finally flatten, and with the outcome of Tolentino’s brilliance, we can observe it ourselves.