Out of the 50,000 contract tracers needed last year, the DILG is set to re-hire 15,000 contact tracers more for the next six (6) months.
This follows the termination of contracts on the last day of 2020; which were all due to constraints in the budget that has been because of the expiry of Bayanihan 2.
Jonathan Malaya, DILG Spokesperson said that this should not affect the “strong capacity” of the country’s contact tracing army. The army has around 275,000 personnel directed to Local Government Units (LGUs) all across the Philippines.
In a separate statement, the DILG spokesperson said that we must sustain our contact tracing efforts especially after the reports about the newest Coronavirus variant entering the country.
Hence, we are pleased that we have been given the funds to re-hire some 15,000 Contact Tracer this year who will continue to help us track down, monitor coronavirus cases, and cut transmission in the community.”
Jonathan Malaya also said that there are several DILG field offices and LGUs that have been directed to conduct immediate assessments of the performance of the contact tracers.
Splitting of the Re-Hired 15,000 Contact Tracers in Each Region
- National Capital Region (NCR) – 2,381 contact tracers
- BARMM – 510 contact tracers
- CALABARZON (Region IV-A) – 1,264 contact tracers
- Northern Mindanao – 634 contact tracers
- Davao Region – 813 contact tracers
- Cordillera Administrative Region – 267 contact tracers
- Zamboanga Peninsula – 1,052 contact tracers
- MIMAROPA (Region IV-B) – 451 contact tracers
- Eastern Visayas – 433 contact tracers
- Cagayan Valley – 352 contact tracers
- Central Luzon – 1,504 contact tracers
- Bicol – 856 contact tracers
- Western Visayas – 974 contact tracers
- Central Luzon – 1,417 contact tracers
How Many Contact Tracers Does the Philippines Need?
Benjamin Magalong, serving Bagui City Mayor, and also the government’s contact tracing czar, acknowledged that the Philippines’ ratio of contact tracing was only at 1:7 to 1:9.
This is too far from the ideal 1:37 contacts expected; which is also up to three (3) transmission layers per infected citizen.
As per the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the optimal contact tracer to population ration should be at 1:800. This is the sufficient amount to cover about 108 million Filipinos; and this yields about 135,000 contact tracers.
Approaching the end of 2020, Senator Sonny Angara, who supported the department’s proposed budget for 2021, was quoted as saying that while the country had 257,000 contact tracers, only about 55 percent or 141,000 of them were “educated.”
Will the 15,000 Re-Hired Contact Tracers Be Enough Against the New Coroanvirus Variant?
He said that they want to continue the services of all the contact tracers that has been in service since last year. This is the reason why they’re set to re-hire 15,000 contact tracers only.
Only 15,000 Contact Tracers will be re-hired under a six-month contract in the meantime while we wait for the release of additional funds.”
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recently OK-ed a budget of P1.9 billion for the rehiring of contact tracing teams.
Out of 50,000 individuals that have been tasked to monitor close contacts of Covid-19 infected Filipinos nationally, the DILG was able to recruit about 46,338 individuals.
The contracts for these touch tracers have gotten off of service on the 31stof December 2020 last year.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto was concerned at a budget hearing about the lack of touch tracking funds, saying it appeared that the government was abandoning one of the critical tasks of minimizing the spread of the virus to the population.
Contact Tracer Salary
Contact tracers have been graded as contractual employees according to DILG guidelines.
They’ll receive a minimum wage of of 18,784 on a monthly basis.
In a memorandum that has been released this week, Bernardo Florece Jr, DILG Officer-In-Charge. gave direction to several regional offices to prioritize the hiring of contact tracers both in areas with remaining active cases and increasing active cases.
Why Does More Contact Tracers Matter?
- It has been 308 days since the effectiveness of the country’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). That made the Philippines is to be in the longest lockdowns in the world.
- As per the DOH’s new case bulletin, the national caseload in the Philippines has crossed 500,000 coronavirus cases. Exactly 24,691 of these are still active events.
- The Quezon City LGU said that about 143 individuals are considered to be close contacts of the first Filipino infected with the latest form of coronavirus were reported.
- The announcement of the DILG came against the backdrop of concerns about the new variant of coronavirus first recorded in the UK, which, according to experts, is said to be more infectious.
- During the community quarantine in 2020, as many as 97,000 contact tracers were deployed. 150,000 contact tracers were the target then.
The DILG is set to re-hire 15,000 contact tracers, if you think you have what it takes, don’t hesitate! Not only will you get a handsome salary, you’ll also be able to help our country’s battle against the infamous virus, too.
Source/s: ABS-CBN News