Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Wednesday said the implementation of Covid-19 tracing czar Benjamin Magalong’s contact-tracing strategy would require hiring of members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as contact tracers.

To meet the need for some 150,000 contact tracers nationwide, Roque said adopting Baguio City’s “simple and inexpensive” method of tapping the police would be helpful.

“[Magalong] is using actually the PNP for contact tracing which is something that we will also implement here. The PNP leadership has signified their conforme to this and they are in the process of training now the police officers that will act as contact tracers,” Roque told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Hiring police officers will also enable local government units (LGUs) to pay and hire more contact tracers, he said.

“The beauty in the Magalong formulation is while LGUs can hire and pay for additional contact tracers up to 150,000 of them, the police, because they are already employed by the government, can be tapped to do the same chore without additional remuneration,” Roque explained.

Further details of the new tracing strategy will be presented during Roque’s press briefing on Friday.

On July 13, Magalong said an “e-system” would be implemented, which will digitize data of contacts and then link them to geographic information systems to establish networks.

Aside from the police, Magalong’s strategy includes health workers, law enforcement investigators, analysts, encoders and technical support. John Ezekiel J. Hirro