May 20 ------ Some P11.7 billion will be needed to finance contact tracing efforts against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday. According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, there will be a need to employ some 130,000 contact tracers given the country's population. "'Yung contact tracers at 1:800 population, we will be needing about 130,000 and assuming we pay them each P30,000 a month... and we keep them to do contact tracing for at least three months, all told, the budget for that is about P11.7 billion," he said in a Senate hearing.
Duque said the contact tracers will be hired based on their competencies as part of their fieldwork duties. "Meron pong competency ang mga contact tracers. They need to be able to communicate well because contact tracing is going to the communities, to the families, and it's not easy to do contact tracing sa totoo lang kaya meron ring set of skills, knowledge, and competency kung tawagin natin," he said. For his part, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) was looking at a proposal for a wage subsidy program for the contact tracers. "We have a proposal, a wage subsidy that can also be converted to cash for work program to cover the contact tracers," he said.