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The government will do away with the deadline and will continue hiring contact tracers until the allocated slots are filled up to boost contact tracing for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) official said on Thursday.

“What’s important to us is to fill up the slots and recruit the most number of contact tracers as provided in the Bayanihan 2 law so those who meet the deadline will immediately be processed but we will continue to accept applications until we have met our targets,” DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

The DILG on September 14 started the hiring and training of at least 50,000 contact tracers following the signing into law of the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” otherwise known as Bayanihan 2. The hiring ended on September 23.

Malaya said all DILG provincial and city field offices will continue to accept applications though they intend to have the first batch of DILG-hired contact tracers deployed to the local government units (LGU) Contact Tracing Teams by the first week of October.

He said some 10,000 individuals have already applied in Metro Manila but many with incomplete documents so they are giving them more time to complete their documents on a first come first served basis.

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“As soon as they are deemed qualified by the selection board, they will be hired, trained, and deployed to the various LGUs,” he added.

In a Laging Handa news briefing on Wednesday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año 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 during the Laging Handa news briefing on Wednesday.

Malaya said contractual personnel whose employment were not renewed, displaced overseas Filipino workers, terminated local employees, and Barangay Health Workers may be given priority in the hiring process if qualified.

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.

“While our first preference is college graduates or college level of allied medical courses or criminology, we are also open to graduates or college level of any course. So, we urge them to apply and help the country defeat Covid-19,” he said.

Malaya said applicants are required to submit an application letter, Personal Data Sheet, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, diploma or transcript of record, and drug test result to the nearest DILG provincial or city field office.

Under the guidelines drafted by the DILG, the contact tracers will earn a minimum of PHP18,784 per month in a contract of service status. 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 response.

He said that the National Capital Region (NCR) will get 19.2 percent of the total number of the new contact tracers to be hired for the simple reason that it remains as one of the hot spots of Covid-19. (DILG PR)


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