Recto pushes for hike of other health workersâ minimum pay
“The ‘sana all (everyone)’ principle must be applied to the salaries of health workers in government, because a pay raise for one should cause a raise for all,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said in a statement.
STAR/Michael Varcas, file
Recto pushes for hike of other health workers’ minimum pay
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto yesterday pushed for hikes in the minimum pay of other health workers like medical technologists, dietitians and radiologists to the same level as that of nurses.

“The ‘sana all (everyone)’ principle must be applied to the salaries of health workers in government, because a pay raise for one should cause a raise for all,” Recto said in a statement.

“The pandemic has shown the bravery of other white coats in the trenches battling the virus and saving lives – and who deserve a pay raise,” he added.

The salary grade 15 entry-level position of nurses should be recognized as the new benchmark for compensating all licensed health professionals in the government, according to the senator.

If done, it would make the current monthly base pay of P32,053 of an SG-15 nurse as their new minimum wage.

“Current” because salary increases are scheduled in 2021 and 2022, under the Salary Standardization Law 5. “Base pay” because the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers mandates other allowances such as the hazard pay, which is at least 25 percent of monthly basic pay for SG 19 and below holders and at least five percent for SG 20 and above employees, among other extra pay and bonuses.

For example, many medical technologists – those in hazmat suits who take samples and test them for coronavirus disease 2019 – are holding SG 11 items, with a monthly base pay of P22,316.

Many radiologic technologists and dietitian-nutritionists, Professional Regulatory Commission test passers like nurses, have also been “marooned” in SG 11, according to Recto.

“They’re stranded individuals, denied of a ticket to a pay hike. Buti pa ang rookie na-patrolman, P30,000 kaagad ang base pay (A rookie patrolman has it better – a P30,000 base pay),” he said.

He added that the entry-level pay of government dentists, which is SG 17’s P38,464 per month, should be increased, too, as the situation contributes to the lack of dentists in the public health system, rendering it a toothless entity.

Recto also lamented that the SG system classifies the entry level for doctors as Medical Officer 1, who will be paid P29,277 monthly. He said the entry level for doctors must be SG 23, which has a base pay of P76,000.

Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who pushed for funding for the pay hike for nurse through an amendment to the P4.1-trillion 2020 budget, said this should provide much-needed support, especially for the frontliners fighting the COVID-19 threat.

“Definitely, no amount is enough to show our appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work of our nurses, especially those in the frontlines. Still, this pay increase – which was sought even before the COVID pandemic hit – will be of help to them in one way or another,” Lacson said.

“As all of us are now dealing with the ‘new normal’ due to the pandemic, the pay increase should hopefully make a difference for them,” he added.

On July 17, the Department of Budget and Management issued Budget Circular 2020-4, finally implemeting the increase in the entry-level salaries of government nurses from SG 11 to SG 15, as mandated by a law passed 18 years ago.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan welcomed the government’s decision to finally implement Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, which raised their salaries.

In an effort to recognize the rights of nurses to higher pay and better working conditions, Pangilinan earlier filed Senate Bill 260 or the Comprehensive Nursing Act, which will provide mechanisms toward relevant nursing practices, just and humane working conditions, and promotion of professional growth.

HEALTH WORKERS
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