DILG ready to hire an additional 50,000 contact tracers

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday assured the hiring of an additional 50,000 contact tracers as soon as the President signs the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act 2.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

He noted that the additional contact tracers will be mostly assigned in high-risk areas like Metro Manila and Region 7.

In an interview over GMA News,  Año said 15,000 contact tracers will be placed in Mindanao, 7,000 in Metro Manila, and 20,000 in the rest of Luzon.

Año expressed confidence that President Duterte will sign Bayanihan 2 that will pave the way for the hiring of the additional contact tracers.

At present, Año said the 200,000 contact tracers who were initially hired are sufficient to undertake their tasks for now.

“Thank you to LGU (local government units), PNP (Philippine National Police) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) for their hard work and additional manpower for contact tracing,’’ Año said.

Año also noted the Department of Health (DOH) has continuously addressed the just compensation of the health workers and contact tracers.

He issued the statement after complaints of the low income and delayed hazard pay received by the health workers have mounted.

“Nakarating naman yung concern na yan sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force). Ginagawan ng action ng DOH. Talagang ipaglalaban natin na ang health workers at contact tracers ay matanggap ang dapat nila matanggap (The concern had reached the IATF. The DOH is doing something about it. We are really fighting to ensure that the health workers and contact tracers get why they deserve),’’ he added.

The DILG chief said that the IATF will meet on September 7 where the health workers’ concerns will surely be tackled.

“Kasama na yung pagtalakay ng mga lugar na pagtaas tulad ng Bacolod City at Iligan, tumaas na ang number of cases, medyo na ooverwhelm at bukas (September 7) tatalakayin namin yun. (The discussion will include the rise in the number of cases in areas like Bacolod City and Iligan),’’ Año concluded.