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Over 55,000 applied to be COVID-19 contact tracers —DILG exec

The number of applicants for contact tracer positions under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) exceeded its target of 50,000, Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. said during a Senate budget hearing on Thursday.

"We have already 55,213 applicants and 47,000 of which were already processed," Florece said during the deliberation on the DILG's P6.7-billion proposed budget for 2021.

More than 10,000 were already officially hired, he added.

The DILG said the P5-billion budget provided by the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 will be used to compensate each with P18,784 monthly salary in a contract-of-service status.

Each contact tracer is tasked to:

  • conduct interviews, profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts;
  • refer close contacts to isolation facilities;
  • conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sectors; conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days, and;
  • perform such other tasks in relation to the COVID response.

The DILG was requested to submit to the Senate finance committee the details of the contact tracers' deployment nationwide.

As of mid-September, the Philippines has 97,400 contact tracers and the hiring of additional workforce is seen to help the country reach the ideal ratio.

"With the additional 50,000 contact tracers, we will now be able to meet the Magalong formula of tracing 37 close contacts of 1 COVID patient up to the 3rd degree," Secretary Eduardo Año had previously said.

Año was referring to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong who was named the country's contact tracing czar after successfully leading contact tracing efforts in his jurisdiction.

The sending of applications for contact tracer positions ran from September 14 to September 23, according to the DILG. —KBK, GMA News