The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) and the Caloocan City Government through its Public Employment Service Office (PESO) led the ceremonial contract signing of the 26 contact tracers at Caloocan City Hall on May 5, 2021.

This after the local government of Caloocan collaborated with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and DOLE-NCR’s CAMANAVA Field Office (CFO) to hire displaced / disadvantaged workers who will be tapped as contact tracers under the labor department’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged / Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program.

DOLE-NCR CAMANAVA OIC-head Maria Luisa Khristina Oliveros said that TUPAD workers are usually tapped for a local community clean-up drive but the Department shifted to contact tracing in view of the global health crisis.

“In spite of the risks, we are thankful for your willingness and courage to help us in this project, not only for its benefits, but because of our aligned passion to minimize the risk of COVID-19 for a safer and healthier community,” added Oliveros.

Among those selected TUPAD contact tracers in Caloocan City were former Barangay Health Worker (BHW) Cherry Ann B. Apollo who lost her former job during lockdown. She looked forward to finding a new employment opportunity to help her cover the school fees of her two children.

Apollo learned the TUPAD Contact Tracing Project when one of her former BHW colleagues shared the job vacancy of the labor department through an online group chat. Her application was eventually considered by PESO Caloocan given her background as a health worker.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa gobyerno na naging kabahagi po ako ng programang ito. Malaki po ang maitutulong ng pagkakaroon namin ng trabahong ito sa aming pamilya at gagawin po namin ang aming makakaya para makatulong sa aming komunidad,” she said.

For Apollo, this opportunity is not only a means to support her family but also a way of helping her community. Despite the risks, she is determined to be a part of the national government’s effort to fight COVID-19. DOLE, for their part, provided PPEs, face masks, face shields, and vitamins to help boost the immunity of the contact tracers.

Also present during activity were DILG Caloocan Director Marco Augusto G. Cabueños, Jr.; DOLE CAMANAVA team represented by Ronald Del Rosario, Angelica Fresnoza, Robelyn Bautista; and Caloocan City PESO Manager Violeta Gonzales together with her team members Jocelyn Yupangco, Paz Gonzales, and Emilio Resuello.

END / Robelyn Bautista and Angelica Fresnoza