MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Thursday it will request more funds from Congress for the hiring of contact tracers, saying the P500 million funds it has for current personnel will only last until June.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said they will ask Congress for additional funds under the proposed third installment of the Bayanihan law, which aims to help the country recover amid the economic crash triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our plan is to request Congress to include an additional amount in the Bayanihan 3. Right now, Congress is considering passing a Bayanihan Act 3 for long-term stability and long-term recovery,” he said in an online press conference hosted by the Department of Health (DOH).
“The DILG will request Congress to appropriate funds for the renewal of these contact tracers so that should the situation persist, we will have enough contact tracers until the end of the year,” he added.
According to Malaya, the country currently has 255,854 contact tracers. Of this number, 15,000 were hired by the DILG while the rest are those hired in their localities, volunteers, or personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine National Police.
Malaya said this number is enough to cover the entire Filipino population. He noted that under the standard set by the DOH, the ratio of contact tracers per population is 1:800, which means only 135,000 contact tracers are needed for 108 million Filipinos.
In 2020, the DILG was able to hire 48,000 contact tracers, but for this year, the P500 million budget only allowed the hiring of 15,000 personnel, Malaya said.
He said the contract for the 15,000 contact tracers will last for six months, from January to June.
DILG can realign budget to rehire 35,000 more contact tracers — DBM
No contact tracing fund under DILG budget for 2021
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