While the City Government of Davao is currently hiring more contact tracers, a Davao COVID-19 Task Force official lauded the city’s very lean team of contact tracers, which has been tirelessly serving beyond regular working hours since the pandemic struck in March 2020.

Davao COVID-19 Task Force Spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser bared this during the Bida Bakunado program of 87.5 Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) on Friday afternoon, September 24.

“Kay as of the moment kay kulang gyud ta,  they have to work. Ang atoang working hours kay eight hours lang, they are working 24/7. They are allotting their lives talaga, Saturday, Sunday, walay undang na atoang contact tracing whether buntag or evening (We lack contact tracers so they have to work harder. Our working hours are only eight hours but they are working 24/7. They are devoting their lives even on Saturdays and Sundays, our contact tracing never stops whether mornings or evenings),” she said.

The city health official said the team conducts contract tracing during the day and write their reports in the evening as there are documentations needed to be submitted, including the timeline of contacts of a COVID-19 positive case.

Dr. Schlosser said, “Ten hours of contact tracing and another 10 hours for reporting, their sleeping time is so really less. We pay so much respect and much gratitude sa atoang mga contact tracers (to our contact tracers). Pero I also acknowledge dili jud perpekto tanan namong mga contact tracers and still we aim (But I also acknowledge that they are not perfect and still we aim to deliver the best services).”

She said they regularly hold seminars, consultative meetings, and webinars with the contact tracers, who also meet in a huddle on Fridays, so the Davao COVID-19 Task Force will be briefed on the difficulties that they face on the ground. Continuous education on Davao City’s executive orders and COVID-19 protocols and guidelines is also being conducted.

The doctor appealed to the public to help the contact tracers whatever flaws they have so proper help can be extended by the city government to them.

“Help us help you also. Mu-acknowledge sad mi naa gyud dapat i-improve sa atong sistema – sa contact tracing, patient monitoring and admission. Tanan tanan kinahanglan man gyud og improvements every day (We acknowledge that we need to improve the system – on contact tracing, patient monitoring, and admission. In all areas, there needs to be improvement every day),” she said.

Dr. Schlosser added, “We do want to improve our services pero dili gyud sya perpekto kay we’ve been battling this for two years, walay Saturday, Sunday. They work 24/7, siguro naay certain boiling point kapuyon napud sila ba but again that’s not an excuse kay naa man mi sa serbisyo publiko so it’s not an excuse but again we plea for your understanding (We do want to improve our services but it’s not perfect since we’ve been battling this for two years, they don’t rest even on Saturdays and Sundays. They work 24/7 and maybe they reached a certain boiling point that they get tired and that’s not an excuse but we plead for your understanding).”  

She hoped for the full cooperation of Dabawenyos as the health cluster of the Davao COVID-19 Task Force and the City Government of Davao aim to help them.

She also said that over 100 individuals applied with the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) as contact tracers. Dr. Schlosser will be among those who will screen the applicants, being the head of the contact tracing team. 

Good communication skills and a pleasant personality are the qualities they are looking for in a contact tracer as these are areas that cannot be taught. The contact tracing skills, according to her, can be learned and adapted.

The current contact tracers that the city has were hired when the maximum average daily cases were 200 and above. With the recent surge, the city would need more contact tracers. CIO

Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, through Executive Order (E.O.) No. 47 Series of 2021 signed on September 21, 2021, created the Davao City Climate Change Committee (DCCC), which is tasked to implement the Local Climate Change Action Plan.

The mayor said Davao City is not exempted from the worsening climate emergency with extreme weather events, rising temperatures, sea-level rise, heavy rainfall, and drought being experienced in other parts of the country.

The city, according to the mayor, usually has flash floods, landslides, and drought.

E.O. 47 cited the City Government of Davao’s  Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) 2019-2023 that aims to pursue and secure the city’s development gains and sustainability efforts and initiatives by building disaster-resilient and climate change adaptive communities.

The City Planning and Development Office-endorsed LCCAP has been approved and adopted through the City Ordinance 0475-21 series of 2021.

This stemmed from Rule VIII Section 4, of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009, as amended by R.A. No. 10174, which mandates the Local Chief Executive to appoint the person responsible to formulate and implement the LCCAP.

The DCCC is composed of the city mayor as chairperson, city administrator as co-chairperson, and the head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office as vice-chairperson.

The members include the City Planning and Development Office, City Disaster Risk Management and Reduction Office, City Health Office, 

City Engineer‘s Office, City Agriculturist’s Office, City Veterinarian‘s Office, City Transport and Traffic Management Office, Department of Natural Resources- Environmental Management Bureau, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability, and two representatives from the academe. 

All offices involved are mandated to name a permanent representative.

The committee, however,  may designate City Government of Davao employees and/or identify qualified personnel, representatives from the academe, private sector, and other stakeholders.

The DCCC is mandated to oversee the implementation of the identified plans, programs, and activities under the thematic areas in the LCCAP;

formulate a Strategic Framework on Climate Change to serve as the basis for a program for climate change planning, research and development, extension, and monitoring of activities on climate change; 

coordinate and synchronize climate change programs in the city; and recommend legislation, policies, strategies, programs on and appropriations for climate change adaptation and mitigation and other related activities.

The special body is also tasked to conduct Greenhouse Gas Inventory and formulate strategies for mitigating GHG emissions, anthropogenic sources and enhance removal by sinks; oversee the popularization of climate change, local vulnerabilities and risks, relevant laws and protocols, and adaptation and mitigation measures through campaigns and information dissemination; create and publish the efforts, initiatives, and accomplishments of the Cit:y in mitigating climate change; and perform such other functions as may be necessary for the effective implementation of this Executive Order.

CENRO shall serve as the DCCc’s secretariat, which will handle all administrative and/or secretarial-related activities.

Meanwhile, a Technical Working Group will also be created to assist the committee in the discharge of its function whose composition shall be determined by the members of the Committee.

A budget shall be allocated from available and appropriate resources to fund the operations and activities of the committee, including meetings, seminars, trainings, capacity-building, and other administrative costs, subject to the usual accounting and auditing rules.

Check the full provisions of E.O. 47 at https://www.davaocity.gov.ph/transparency/executive-orders/2021-executive-orders/. CIO