SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has requested President Rodrigo Duterte and concerned agencies to continue to engage and hire 15,000 contact tracers from August 2 to December 31, highlighting their critical role in the government’s pandemic response operations.
“Ang pagiging contact tracer ay isang mainam na paraan para makatulong sa inyong mga kababayan. At the same time, makakapagbigay pa tayo ng trabaho para sa mga Pilipinong nawalan ng kabuhayan,” he explained.
“Habang nakakatulong sila sa laban kontra COVID-19, matutulungan rin natin ang mga contact tracers na maitawid ang kanilang mga pamilya laban sa gutom at kahirapan,” Go added.
Given the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, Go emphasized the important role contact tracers play in managing the pandemic and not squandering the chance for early preparation.
“Contact tracing and case investigation are important parts of our COVID-19 response,” Go, who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, emphasized.
“Marami po sa ating mga kababayan ang gustong tumulong. Pwede silang maging contact tracers kung bibigyan sila ng karampatang training at kompensasyon bilang kabuhayan na rin sa mga nawalan ng trabaho,” he said.
A major pillar of the COVID-19 response, according to Go, is the detection of suspect, probable, and confirmed COVID-19 instances.
He explained, “Contact tracing enables the quarantine and treatment of those who may have been infected with the virus, interrupting the infection’s chain of transmission.”
Notably, contact tracers are the initial point of contact for COVID-19 cases. They conduct case interviews and risk assessments, monitor close and general contacts daily for at least 14 days, and keep accurate records of those contacts.
The anticipated cost of hiring 15,000 contact tracers through December 31 amounts to almost 1.7 billion pesos. With the hiring of the requested contact tracers, the government intends to meet the Department of Health’s 1:10 contact tracer-to-individual ratio.
“Sana po ay magawan natin ng paraan para tuluy-tuloy ang paghire ng contact tracers sa bansa, lalo na ngayong may bantang dala ang Delta variant. Hinihimok ko po ang gobyerno na hanapan ito ng pondo para po tuluy-tuloy ang kanilang trabaho,” said Go.
To combat the spread of the Delta variant, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has agreed to put NCR on heightened GCQ until August 5, 2021, and ECQ from August 6 to August 20.
Aside from the reinstatement of ECQ and border controls, Go has previously called for the expansion of healthcare facilities, a faster vaccination deployment, and increased contact tracing and genome sequencing.
“Maliban sa istriktong quarantine guidelines, mas paigtingin din natin ang border control at travel restrictions sa bansang maraming kaso ng Delta variant. Hinihimok ko rin ang pamahalaan na mas palakasin pa ang contact tracing at genome sequencing sa bansa,” said Go.
“Patuloy din nating dagdagan ang kapasidad ng mga healthcare facilities at, higit sa lahat, mas pabilisin ang pagbabakuna,” he added.
Bong Go: Focus must remain on pandemic response
SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support being given to the Duterte administration after the results of the pre-election survey that was conducted by the Octa Research Group from July 12 to 18 was made public.
He however emphasized that leaders must remain focused on overcoming the health crisis rather than anticipating the upcoming national elections next year.
According to the poll, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is the frontrunner candidate for the Presidency, while President Rodrigo Duterte leads the race if he decides to run for Vice President next year.
“Maraming salamat po sa mga kapatid kong Pilipino sa inyong patuloy na pagtitiwala at pagsuporta sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte. Ngunit, nasa Pilipino na po ang desisyon pagdating ng panahon,” said Go.
For his part, the senator reiterated that he is not interested in seeking higher office. He further expressed that, as Chair of Senate Committee on Health and Demography, his top priority right now is to make sure that the nation overcomes the pandemic and achieves population protection through its vaccination program that will hopefully lead to herd immunity.
“Ako naman po, bilang chairman ng Committee on Health sa Senado, patuloy akong naka-focus sa pagtulong sa pamahalaan kung paano mas mapabilis malampasan ang pandemya at maibsan ang hirap na dinaranas ng ating mga kababayan,” Go remarked.
“Darating din po ang panahon na magpa-file na po ang mga kandidato at darating din po ang panahon ng pulitika. Ako naman po, let me repeat, I am not interested to run,” he added.
Go mentioned that working alongside President Rodrigo Duterte for over 20 years, especially the past 5 years, has significantly showed him the challenges of being the president, saying, “Alam ko po ang trabaho ng isang Pangulo, nasa tabi po ako ni Pangulong Duterte sa matagal na panahon, napakahirap po ng trabaho ng isang Pangulo.”
“Sa pagiging isang Pangulo at Pangalawang Pangulo, it’s all destiny. Kung para sa iyo, para sa iyo talaga ‘yan. Kung hindi para sayo, hindi talaga para sayo ‘yan. At kung sino po ‘yung kailangan ng mga Pilipino sa panahong iyon,” he added.
Moreover, Go thanked the public for their continued support and trust to his service and reassured that he will remain dedicated to serving Filipinos as long as he could.
“I leave my fate to God, to the Dutertes — kung ano man po ang kanilang magiging desisyon — and to the Filipino people,” said Go.
“Sila po ang nagbigay sa akin ng pagkakataon na makapaglingkod sa kapwa at marating kung saan man po ako nandirito ngayon. Uunahin ko muna ang pagseserbisyo sa aking kapwa Pilipino,” he continued.
Go earlier said that it is the common Filipinos who can see and feel the changes brought by the Duterte Administration. So it is only right that they be the judge whether or not the President has accomplished his promise of providing positive change in the lives of Filipinos.
“Ayaw ko po pag-usapan ang pulitika, mas gusto kong unahin ang pagseserbisyo. Pero kung tatanungin ninyo ako tungkol sa 2022 elections, I am willing to volunteer as campaign manager sa kung sinuman ang makakapagpatuloy ng pagbabago na inumpisahan ni Pangulong Duterte,” he said in an earlier statement.