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DILG: No ‘additional hiring for contact tracers’ due to lack of funds


As COVID instances have decreased, the government has reduced funding for numerous contact tracers. Infections have risen again, and some of the contact tracers whose contracts have expired have chosen to labor for free in order to aid the country.

Due to a lack of funds, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will no longer be hiring COVID-19 contact tracers this year, said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya on Wednesday.

“We don’t have additional hiring for contact tracers,” Malaya said over ABS-CBN News Channel.

Only P250 million has been allocated in the 2022 budget for contact tracing operations, sparking concerns that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) may not be able to keep up with the country’s spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We added them last year, unfortunately for this year, there was a decrease in the budget in the DILG for contact tracing funds,” Malaya said.

“Ito ang aming problem ngayon, kung papaano pagkakasiyahin ang (This is our problem right now, on how to budget) P250 million for the 15,000 we hired last year. We already talked to the local government units and asked them to absorb first the contact tracers that are now with them,” he added.

Malaya stated that the DILG is asking local government units (LGUs) to bear the costs of contact tracing because LGUs have higher internal income allotment per the Mandanas order.

“I-absorb na muna nila, because under the Mandanas ruling, many LGUs have increased internal revenue allotment. So we’re asking them for the meantime those contact tracers which could not be renewed by DILG because of the slash of our budget to contact tracing,” Malaya added.

The contact tracing problems arise as the Philippines faces another surge in COVID-19 cases as a result of the loosening of quarantine rules during the Christmas holidays, as well as the threat of the highly transmissible Omicron form.


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