Marcos wants SK officials to join COVID-19 contact tracing efforts

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2020 09:19 PM

Residents selected for testing gather at the Baclaran Elementary School as local authorities enforce a reasonable calibrated lockdown of 10 major streets in Barangay Baclaran, Parañaque City on May 21, 2020, in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Sen. Imee Marcos on Thursday said Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials should be tapped in the government's COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

"Ang pinakamahusay sanang contact tracer dahil nakakabit lagi sa kanilang katawan ang kanilang mga telepono at tech-savvy sila, dapat mga SK," Marcos said during a budget hearing in the Senate.

(The SK should be the best contact tracers because they are always glued to their phones and they are tech-savvy.)

Marcos' suggestion comes as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that they have only hired a fifth of the 50,000 contact tracers needed by the government.

While the DILG has received some 55,000 applications, only 47,000 have been processed and some 10,136 have been "officially hired," Interior Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. told senators.

Although the SK has had several programs during the COVID-19 crisis - such as the distribution of personal protective equipment and materials needed for distance learning - the youth officials have yet to craft a formal plan to join the government's contact tracing efforts, National Youth Commission chair Ryan Enriquez said.

Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act - the Philippines' second COVID-19 aid package - some P5 billion is allocated for COVID-19 contact tracing effort.

Each contact tracer would receive P18,784 a month under a contract of service agreement, according to data from the DILG.