MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday said it would be recruiting 50,000 contact tracers as the country doubles down on its fight against COVID-19.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, DILG officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Bernardo Florence Jr. said the additional manpower would augment the current 85,000 contact tracers deployed in various parts of the country.
"Ito ang heart and soul ng ating efforts against COVID-19. Without it, hindi natin malalaman kung sino ang ia-isolate, ite-test at ite-treat," Florence said.
This developed after Congress on Thursday approved the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) bill that would allow President Rodrigo Duterte to realign funds for the coronavirus crisis.
Some P5 billion from the P140-billion fund is earmarked to intensify the country's contact tracing efforts as the spread of the virus is far from abating.
With extra manpower, the government will meet the Department of Health's recommendation of 1 contact tracer per 800 people, Florence said, adding "ito naman ay ikakalap natin sa iba't ibang siyudad at municipalities dito sa ating bansa. Bibigyan natin ng priority of course 'yung maraming cases ng COVID-19."
Hiring of contact tracers will start at DILG's regional offices, in coordination with local government units (LGUs). Applicants must be college graduates and preferably those in medical and criminology courses.
"Hindi rin basta-basta maging contact tracer dahil nalalagay rin sila sa panganib. Puwede nila tawagan through telephone pero mas maganda face-to-face," Florence said.
Contact tracers will be making between P18,000 to P20,000, with a 5 percent premium pay.
To date, the Philippines has recorded 187,249 coronavirus infections, of which 69,362 are considered active cases. The tally includes 2,966 people who succumbed to the disease while 114,921 have recovered.