Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday vowed to file a bill that seeks to legislate the increase of salaries of entry-level nurses without compromising the position of long-serving ones.
Gordon said the measure that will cement the directive of Malacañang to reverse a Department of Budget and Management (DBM) circular that raised the salary of entry-level nurses but demoted the positions of Nurses II to VII to a rank lower.
“We care for our nurses as they are vital to our healthcare system; they are at the forefront. We are glad that finally, they will get what they deserve, but we want to make sure that the memo issued by Malacañang will not be easily amended or retracted, so, we will file a bill that will make that regulation a law. This is one significant way of protecting our nurses,” Gordon said in a statement.
Issued on 17 July 2020, DBM Circular No. 2020-4 standardized higher pay for entry-level nurses from salary grade (SG) 11, or about P22,000, to SG 15, or about P32,000 a month.
However, it also removed Nurse VII or “chief nurse” rank which effectively demoted the positions of Nurses II to VII by one rank lower, while retaining their salary level.
The memorandum issued by Malacañang on 1 June overturned the said circular as it increased the salary of Nurse II from SG 15 to SG 16 while retaining the position titles of Nurse III to Nurse VII with their corresponding salary grades.
Expressing support for the sector, Gordon reiterated that providing nurses with higher compensation is vital to stop them from working overseas. He said the country needs more healthcare workers now, especially at a time that it is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I always say that our nurses should be compensated fairly so that they would no longer go overseas to work. The Philippines is a major source in exporting nurses. In the United States alone, about 150,000 nurses are Filipinos. And so, it is imperative that we create policies that are beneficial to them and will make them choose to stay in our country because we want them to be with their families and we are also in need of healthcare workers especially now that we are facing a pandemic,” he said.
To recall, the senator filed a bill last year amending Republic Act No. 9173 or The Philippine Nursing Act of 2002. It states that the minimum base pay for nurses working in the government hospitals and health institutions should start at salary grade 15 or roughly P33,000 per month — a huge jump from their original salary of P8,000 to P13,500 per month.
The DBM, for its part, said it will comply with the order of the Malacañang.
Healthcare workers association Filipino Nurses United welcomed the development earlier saying around 30,000 government nurses in the country will be entitled to backpay with the reversal of the circular.
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