COVID contact tracers to get continuing gov’t support, says Roque

Published August 5, 2021, 4:29 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is willing to allocate additional funds to sustain the contact tracing program if needed to boost the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on August 2, 2021. (Malacañang)

According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, the budget for the hiring of contract tracers could be replenished if ever the funds will run out.

“Hindi po ako sigurado kung talagang lack of funding, dahil nagsabi naman po ang DOLE na magpapatuloy sila na mag-empleyo ng mga contact tracers lalo na para dito sa Metro Manila (I am not sure if there is really lack of funding because DOLE stated that it will continue to employ contact tracers especially in Metro Manila),” he said during a televised pres briefing Thursday, August 5.

“Pero kung kulang man po iyan, eh dadagdagan dahil ang gobyerno naman po ay mayroon puwede pang pagkuhanan (But if the funds are insufficient, the government will increase the budget because the government has funding sources),” he added.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier expressed concern about the shortage of funds for the contract renewal of the contact tracers, saying this was ta huge problem of the government. Magalong, contact tracing czar, told a House inquiry on the COVID-19 situation, said additional funds must be set aside for the continued hiring of the contact tracers.

The government earlier tapped more than 6,000 persons to help trace the close contacts of confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases for immediate testing and isolation. The labor department reputedly offered to extend the expiring contracts for only two months due to limited funds.