The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) aims to hire 50,000 contact tracers by September.
According to DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, the mass hiring of contact tracers could start next month once its budget allocation is released.
The House of Representatives recently approved the P5-billion of funds for the new workforce for the government’s contact tracing efforts to be led by DILG under Bayanihan 2.
In May, the Department of Health (DOH) said it would need P11.7 billion budget to compensate additional contact tracers in three months.
The Philippines currently has 85,000 contact tracers.
The national task force against COVID-19 is targeting to hire 135,000 contact tracers nationwide.
The DILG said they would prioritize hiring in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases such as Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Cavite, Bulacan, and Laguna.
The Philippine Safety College and Local Government Academy would lead the training for the new hires.
The DILG also sets the minimum qualification standards for contract tracers: must be a graduate of a Bachelor’s degree on allied medical courses or criminology; should have one-year relevant experience, and should undergo four hours of appropriate training.
The second priority would be given to those who have undergone at least two years of college education in medical or criminology-related courses as long as they have the relevant training and experience.
DILG to hire 50K contact tracers
The DILG also said it would be prioritizing applicants from the government who were affected by budget realignments as well as OFWs.
Government officials have suggested earlier on where to hire contact tracers in the country, such as hiring jeepney drivers in June, a suggestion which jeepney associations rejected.
The PISTON militant group also objected to the proposal, as drivers were not health experts.
Gatchalian said the isolation of virus carriers would be much easier, especially since the lockdown was eased if new graduates of K to 12 were hired.
Anakalusugan party-list Representative Michael Defensor also recommended authorities should utilize Facebook and other social media platforms to improve contact tracing efforts of the Philippines amid the COVID-19 crisis.