The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will no longer hire contact-tracers this year, citing a cut in the budget of the department as the reason.
In an interview over ANC, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya stated that the agency is facing an uphill battle as the budget for its contact tracers down is only P250 million for 2022.
“For this year, there was a decrease in the budget of the DILG for contact tracing funds. We were only given P250 million by Congress in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2022,” Malaya explained.
The DILG spokesperson noted that the department had made representations with the local government units (LGUs) for them to absorb the 15,000 contact tracers previously under its wings.
“We already talked to the LGUs (local government units) and we asked them to absorb first the contact tracers that are now with them because under the Mandanas ruling many of the LGUs have increased IRA (internal revenue allotment). So we are asking them to absorb first in the meantime those contact tracers which could not be renewed by the DILG because of the slash of our budget for contact tracing,’’ Malaya explained.
With contact tracing a local government function, Malaya said that they “are primarily in charge of contact tracing and it’s their personnel that is used for contact tracing under the direction of the city or municipal epidemiological surveillance unit that’s why we also mobilize the BHERTs (Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams) as contact tracers. (Chito A. Chavez)