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Duterte approves funds for rehiring of 15,000 contact tracers until end of 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the funds for the rehiring of some 15,000 contact tracers who will help the government’s COVID-19 response until end of 2021, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Senator Bong Go said Friday.

In a statement, Año said Duterte’s approval of the fund will help the local government units (LGUs) in managing their COVID-19 cases in their respective localities.

“On behalf of our local government units (LGUs), lubos kaming nagpapasalamat kay Pangulong Duterte sa karagdagang pondo para magpatuloy ang serbisyo ng [15,000] contact tracers,” he said.

(On behalf of our local government units, we are grateful to President Duterte for the additional funds to extend the service of the 15,000 contact tracers.)

Go, in a separate statement, disclosed that the contracts of additional contact tracers started last August 2.

Hiring new contact tracers will cost the government around P1.7 billion, he added.

"Our contact tracers play an important role in managing the pandemic and not squandering the chance for early preparation," Go, Duterte’s longtime aide, said.

Last July 23, Año had sent a letter to the President, asking him for an additional P1.7-billion budget for the extension of the services of the contact tracers until December 2021.

Their contracts would have expired this month.

Should the services of the 15,000 contact tracers expire, Año said the total nationwide contact tracing personnel will be reduced by around 13%, bringing the operational capacity to only 72% against the ideal number.

At a House hearing last Wednesday, contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the lack of funding for the contract renewal of the contract tracers is the “main issue” and the “big problem” that the government is currently facing.—AOL, GMA News