DILG backs Bayanihan 3 to hire more COVID-19 contact tracers
The Department of the Interior and Local Government supports the Bayanihan to Arise As One bill (Bayanihan 3) to hire more contact-tracers who could help the Philippines arrest the spread of the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant, an official said on Tuesday.
Bayanihan 3, the third emergency response measure, is pending at the Senate, while Congress is in recess until Monday. Questions remain on whether or not government can find fund sources for the proposed spending plan.
"Importante rin na mapasa ang Bayanihan 3 bill kasi nandito po nakasaad ang isang malaking budget para madagdagan po natin ang mga contact tracer sa buong bansa," said DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III.
(It is important to pass the Bayanihan 3 because it includes a big budget so that we could hire more contact tracers nationwide.)
The interior department has also asked the budget department's permission to allocate funds from the 2021 budget to the hiring of more contact tracers, he said in a televised public briefing.
Densing said his agency also hoped the budget department would authorize local governments to realign their development funds for COVID-19 response.
"Napakabigat po na magkaroon tayo ng budget ngayon. Ito po ang inaasahan natin para makatulong po tayo sa contact-tracing personnel and hiring ng mga lokal na gobyerno," said the official.
"Ito po ang pinakaimportanteng part para mapigilan natin ang pagkalat ng COVID-19, lalo na ng Delta variant."
(It is crucial that we get a budget. This is how we expect to help contact-tracing personnel and the hiring of local governments. This is the most important part to stop the spread of COVID-19, especially the Delta variant.)
The labor department, he noted, is also tapping contact-tracers through its emergency employment program for displaced workers.