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43K and counting: DILG swamped with applicants for contact tracers

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MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has so far received more than 43,000 applications for contract tracers as part of efforts to boost the country’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Ang figure natin as of yesterday (Monday) ay total of 43,622 ‘yung nag-apply at nakapag-process tayo ng 35,213, kaya sigurado na may 16,650 applicants na qualified (As of yesterday a total of 43,622 individuals have already applied and we have processed around 35,213 applications. Now, 16,650 applicants have already qualified),” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo on Tuesday.

Año said the recruitment of contact tracers would continue until all slots are filled up.

“Tuluy-tuloy yung pag-hire kasi gusto natin mapuno ‘yung 50,000 na contact tracers natin. Sayang naman at saka makapagbigay din tayo ng trabaho sa mga kababayan natin (The hiring will continue because we want to fill our 50,000 contact tracers. So we can also provide jobs to our countrymen),” he added.

Under the guidelines drafted by the DILG, the contact tracers would be hired under a contract of service status and would get a salary of around PHP18,000-PHP19,000.

Among their responsibilities are to conduct interviews, profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of Covid-19 cases and their identified close contacts; refer the close contacts to isolation facilities; conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sectors; conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days, and perform such other tasks in relation to the Covid-19 response.

Año earlier said the government needs to boost contact tracing to further contain the spread of the virus.

“We are dealing with an invisible enemy and the only way really to find the enemy is through contact tracing and then we can do the testing and then we can isolate,’’ Año said.

To qualify, the applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree or college level in an allied medical course or criminology course. Aspirants must also be skilled in data gathering and have assisted in research and documentation; able to interview Covid-19 cases and close contacts in order to gather data; possess the ability to advocate public health education messages, and have the investigative capability.

Applicants are required to submit an application letter, Personal Data Sheet, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, diploma or transcript of records, and drug test result to the nearest DILG provincial or city field office. (PNA)