The Department of the Interior and Local Government has deployed additional contact tracers in the National Capital Region to aid the Local Government’s response to the spike in COVID cases in Metro Manila.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the Philippine National Police will deploy an additional 362 uniformed personnel to the various LGU contact tracing teams in Metro Manila to supplement their existing local contract tracing effort.
The PNP contact tracers are deployed as follows 16 – Malabon,12 – Navotas, 17 – Valenzuela, 30 – Caloocan, 16 - NPD reserve for Camanava, 14 – Marikina, 16 - Pasig
17 – Mandaluyong, 15 - San Juan, 30 – Manila, 34 – Pasay, 25 – Makati, 15 – Paranaque, 18 - Las Pinas, 17 – Muntinlupa, 20 – Taguig, 10 – Pateros, 40 – Quezon City.
The Bureau of Fire Protection, another attached agency of the DILG, will also deploy an additional 100 uniformed personnel to the NCR contract tracing effort. 60 will be deployed to Quezon City and 40 to Pasay City.
“The Chiefs of Police and the Fire Marshalls have been instructed to coordinate with their respective LGUs for their respective requirements. If the LGUs, for example, needs more, the chiefs of police can request from their District Director, and if these cannot be met by the district, the NCRPO can deploy the remaining personnel from the mobile forces,” he said.
Malaya also said that DILG OIC Bernardo Florece has directed the various police regional offices across the country to assign at least 20 personnel each to do remote contact tracing as maybe required by the Metro Manila LGUs. “The Police Regional Offices will be assigned to each of the LGUs and they will help in making calls and monitoring the status of COVID positives,” he said.
Malaya said that this is in addition to the 300 contact tracers to be deployed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to the various LGUs.
“So, that’s a total of 802 contact tracers from the DILG and 300 from the MMDA. The Metro Manila LGUs are also doing their hiring so we have sufficient number of CTs to meet our needs,” he said.
This January the DILG already deployed 2,381 contact tracers to the NCR for a 6 month contract until June. The DILG utilized the unreleased balance from the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and the P500M Contact Tracing budget in the 2021 General Appropriations Act for the hiring of the additional contact tracers.
Of the 2,381 additional CTs, 500 CTs were deployed to Quezon City, 400 to Manila, 255-Caloocan, 35 to Las Piñas, 59 to Makati City, 90 to Malabon, 213 to Marikina, 30 to Mandaluyong, 50 to Muntinlupa, 70 to Navotas, 100 to Valenzuela, 136 to Paranaque, 91 to Pasig, 30 to San Juan, 140 to Taguig, 100 to Pasay, and 52 to Pateros.
At present, the NCR has a total of 9,386 CTs organized in 2,130 contact tracing teams. The City of Manila has the most number of CTs at 2,675 members.
Malaya said the country’s contact tracing capacity remains to be strong, a year into the pandemic. “The existing number of Contact Tracers (CTs) currently stands at 255,854 nationwide which is more than sufficient for the country’s needs. “We already have 29,611 contact tracing teams which is composed of 255,854 contact tracers nationwide. Even without the DILG hiring, we already have sufficient number of contact tracers.”
He said that the DILG hiring only seeks to augment the LGU CTs to meet Department of Health (DOH) standards of 1:800 contact tracer to population ratio. “With our number of CTs, we have exceeded DOH standard. Per the DOH, the ideal contact tracer to population ratio is 1:800 so to fully cover 108 million Filipinos, we actually need a total of 135,000 contact tracers only,”
“So wala po tayong dapat ipangamba. Bukod pa sa 15k CTs that we rehired, mayroon nang nakadeploy na halos more than 200,000 CTs sa buong bansa galing sa mga LGUs na tututok sa mga COVID-19 cases sa mga lokalidad," Malaya said.
At present, there are 29,611 CT teams nationwide. Each CTT is composed of the Municipal/City Health Officer with members from the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTS), volunteers from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the augmentation CTs from the DILG.