Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon proposed to mobilize civil society organizations and tap around 400 thousand barangay health workers and parent-leaders from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to carry out contact tracing.
This as he expressed alarm over the slow contact tracing efforts implemented by the government to contain the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“To help expedite contact tracing, I propose that we assemble and activate existing government-organized and accredited groups. We can easily tap the over 200,000 Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), 200,000 parent-leaders from the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program and members of DSWD-accredited Civil Society Organizations,” Drilon said in a letter to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III on Tuesday.
Drilon stressed: “Time is of the essence and we must act expeditiously – tapping the above workers and leaders can save us precious time and help us combat COVID-19 efficiently.”
“Since they are already organized, they can be quickly mobilized as contact tracers,” he added.
Dr. Socorro Escalante, the World Health Organization acting representative, raised alarm over the country’s slow contact tracing efforts and stressed the need for the Philippines to “push harder” and “work harder.”
The Senate minority leader said that the WHO is correct in saying that there is “a very short window of opportunity to improve the country’s contact-tracing system,” as he emphasized that contact should be expedited before the government eases the lockdowns most especially in Metro Manila.
The DOH, Drilon said, should provide transportation allowance and protective gears such face shield and mask to the contact tracers.
Drilon emphasized the importance of tracking in containing the virus and winning the fight against the pandemic.
“Our objective to prevent the virus from spreading is based on our ability to efficiently identify the infected and notify those he or she has made contact with. Hence, contact tracing is a must and should never be neglected,” Drilon said.