He revealed that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has discussed the matter with Sen. Bong Go, as he expressed confidence the Senate will support the House over the upgrade of nurses’ pay scale from Salary Grade 11 to 15.
Edd Gumban/File
Nurses’ salary upgrade may take effect next year
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC)-sanctioned P30,531 entry level monthly salary for government nurses might be implemented next year after Congress conferred with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), an administration lawmaker said yesterday.

“It will either be this year or next year that this salary increase for our nurses in the public sector will be implemented,” Rep. Mike Defensor of party-list Anakalusugan told a news conference at the House of Representatives.

He revealed that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has discussed the matter with Sen. Bong Go, as he expressed confidence the Senate will support the House over the upgrade of nurses’ pay scale from Salary Grade 11 to 15.

“The House leadership through Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab (chairman of the House appropriations committee) will coordinate with the DBM on this issue so that funds can be released for such purpose,” the former Cabinet member said.

As it is now, government nurses fall under the SG 11 category in the government’s Salary Standardization law which provides for a monthly salary of only P20,754, the primary reason why nurses have been going overseas for greener pastures.

Defensor noted that while nurses groups – like those who petitioned the SC to compel government to give them a more reasonable and substantial pay – are not fully organized yet, he nonetheless expressed hope that even those in the private sector will be included.

“Through this you can see how President Duterte is concerned with the welfare of everybody. First, he signed the Universal Health Care law, then he increased the budget for hospitals. And now, we are going to help our nurses,” he said. “So, the government’s campaign is not just focused on peace and order, but also on health.”

Defensor wants the Senate and the House to pass a joint resolution authorizing the increase in the base pay of government nurses to avert the mass exodus of these medical professionals who are in demand overseas.

“The House and the Senate have the option to pass a joint resolution putting into effect the higher starting pay of P30,531 for nurses employed by the national government,” the former Quezon City congressman proposed.

The vice-chairman of the House committee on health pointed out that it is very unfair for these nurses in the public sector to have a base pay or entry level of P20,754 monthly.

Defensor noted that no less than the SC acknowledged the disparity in the pay scale of nurses employed in government, but was only limited to ruling in the nurses’ favor and could not compel government as it would encroach the independence of a co-equal branch.

The SC recently upheld the validity of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, which bumped up to Salary Grade 15 (P30,531) the minimum pay of nurses retained by the national government, mostly in hospitals run by the Department of Health.

Nurses employed by local governments are also expected to benefit from the ruling, though their higher entry-level pay would be less than P30,531 and depend on how big the province, city or municipality is.

GOVERNMENT NURSES
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