DILG to ask additional funds to extend contact tracers' contracts

DILG to ask additional funds to extend contact tracers' contracts
Residents stand next to a police line placed at the entrance to their home as the local government prepares to impose a lockdown in the neighbourhood in Manila on March 10, 2021, as the number of new daily cases has soared past 3,000 in recent days mostly in Metro Manila.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government said it will request additional funds from Congress to extend the contracts of contact tracers until the end of the year.

Contact tracing is a key strategy that can further reduce the spread of infection, especially now when the country faces another surge in COVID-19 cases.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the agency will ask Congress for “more than P1 billion” in additional funds under the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or the Bayanihan 3 as the funds it currently has can only cover the salaries of contact tracers until June.

“The DILG will request Congress to appropriate funds for the renewal of these contact tracers. Should the situation persist, we will have enough contact tracers until the end of the year,” Malaya said in a briefing Thursday.

DILG was able to re-hire only 15,000 contact tracers under a six-month contract this year. Only P500 million was allocated for the hiring of contact tracers in the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

Last year, the department hired 48,000 contact tracers.

Aside from the contact tracers hired by the national government, local governments nationwide also hired personnel tasked to do contact tracing efforts.

There are 255,854 contact tracers across the country. Malaya said the government has hired enough contact tracers to meet the ideal ratio of one contact tracer for every 800 people.

The DILG also said it will work with the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Health to harmonize the contact tracing apps of different Metro Manila cities. 

The Philippines has recorded over 603,000, including 12,545 deaths.  Gaea Katreena Cabico


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