In this file photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic shows parent leaders attending family development session in Sarangani. (Photo by JBM / DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY — Parent leaders covered by the government’s conditional cash transfer program have signed up to become contact tracers in a bid to curb the growing cases of people infected by coronavirus in Central Mindanao.

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development, said Wednesday that four parent leaders in the town of Alabel, Sarangani Province; four others in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat Province; and three in Polomolok, Sout Cotabato, have proactively responded to the call of government for community contact tracers as part of the country’s response to cut the transmission of deadly virus brought about by COVID-19.

A parent leader oversees the attendance, monthly discussions and overall participation and compliance of the beneficiaries under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“Our staffs on the ground are continuously encouraging our partner-beneficiaries to help since they know the people within their respective communities,” Dir. Espejo said.

Across the region, the total number of cases as of Tuesday had reached 944 – 498 of these active cases – including 54 new infections recorded within 24 hours, according to daily tally of the Department of Health. A patient also died yesterday, bringing to 19 the death toll in Region 12.

Naifah Balindong, regional project coordinator of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, said parent leaders helping in the fight against COVID-19 have been serving as volunteers in their respective health centers.

Among their responsibilities include conducting interviews and profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts; refer the close contacts to isolation facilities; conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sectors; conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days; and perform such other tasks in relation to the COVID response.

The measure to tap contact tracers was in accordance with the provisions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Under the law, contact tracers to be tapped may include, but are not limited to, displaced workers both in the formal and informal sectors, from existing networks of barangay health workers, parent-leaders from the 4Ps and members of duly accredited civil society organizations. (JBM / DSWD)