DILG eyes P5B fund in ‘Bayanihan 2’ for contact tracing efforts
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said P5 billion out of P162 billion funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 bill must be earmarked to boost government’s contact tracing efforts.
In a statement on Thursday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año sent a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri requesting that P5 billion be set aside to bankroll the hiring and training of over 50,000 more contact tracers nationwide.
Año said 50,000 more “competent” contact tracers are needed to meet the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of one contact tracer for every 800 people.
“With a projected population of 108 million this year, we need 50,000 more contact tracers to attain the ideal number of 135,000 contact tracers to pursue quick and credible tracing of close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients,” he said.
The country currently has 7,000 contact tracing teams with a total of more than 85,000 contact tracers, Año also noted.
In addition, DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the funds will also fund compensation and operational expenses of the contact tracers.
On Monday, House of Representatives on Monday approved on the third and final reading of the proposed Bayanihan 2 which will assist in addressing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to the country. Senate approved its own version of the measure last month.
With both chambers approving the measure, a bicameral conference committee will look into the different provisions of the bills.
As of Aug. 12, Wednesday, the Philippines logged 143,749 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 68,997 recoveries while 2,404 fatalities.
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