DOLE Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns director, Ma. Karina Trayvilla (Screengrab from Laging Handa briefing)

MANILA – The government will start accepting online applications for contact tracers in the National Capital Region (NCR) on April 17, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Wednesday.

In a virtual forum, lawyer Ma. Karina Trayvilla, director of the DOLE Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) said these contact tracers will be hired under the agency's Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

“As agreed upon these notices will be blasted on the websites of DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), DOLE, MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority), and even the social media accounts of these agencies this coming Saturday,” she said.

She added that the submission of applications will only run for five days or until April 22.

“There is a uniform or a template we are going to use with respect to the notice of hiring and then there will be a link that is connected to Public Employment Service Office (PESO), where they can submit their applications,” she said.

Upon submission of applications, Trayvilla said these will be screened by a selection committee composed of personnel from various departments.

“Our PESO is LGU (local government unit) based...upon submission of the application. It will undergo a selection committee and then the members of composed of different PESO managers and epidemiologists and surveillance head. DOLE will also be represented as well as DILG. The agreement is after receiving after that period they will come up with the shortlist and come up with the required number that we need,” she said.

From the original target of 14,000 workers, the agency said this will be cut to only around 5,000 workers due to clamors of LGUs to prolong the workdays from 30 to 90 days.

“But since the clamor to prolong the workdays into 90 days, we have to scale down the number of workers into almost 5,000,” she added.

The DOLE has initially allotted a budget of PHP232 million for 4,754 contact tracers.

“There is a possibility that the number of workers will be 5,000 as Secretary Silvestre Bello III allowed the additional number to make it 5,000. The budget will have to be adjusted if we will have 5,000 workers,” she said.

Trayvilla said displaced informal sector workers and those who already worked as contact tracers are encouraged to apply. (PNA)