Palace vows more funding for gov’t nurses back wages

PNA file photo

MANILA – The national government will look for sources of funding for the backpay of government nurses, Malacañang assured on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the concerned executive departments will comply with the Supreme Court (SC) ruling increasing government nurses’ salaries even if the administration has yet to find sources of funding for their back wages.

“Dahil iyan po ay desisyon ng Korte Suprema, hahanapan at hahanapan po iyan ng pondo. Kung wala pong pondong mahanap sa existing budget, then baka sa supplemental budget (Because that is the decision of the Supreme Court, we will look for funding. If we cannot get funding from the existing budget, then perhaps from the supplemental budget),” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

On June 1, a Palace memorandum was issued increasing the salary of Nurse II from salary grade (SG) 15 (starting at PHP33,575 per month as of January 2021) to SG 16 (PHP36,628) while it retains the position titles of Nurse III to Nurse VII with their corresponding salary grades.

This memo overturned the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) Memorandum Circular 2020-4 that increased the salary of entry-level nurses but demoted the positions of Nurses II to VII to a lower rank.

The DM Memorandum Circular was issued on July 17, 2020, but it was made retroactive to January of the same year.

Roque also appealed to government nurses to extend their patience, noting that the government is doing its best to cover their back wages.

“Effective June 1 naman iyong memorandum ni Executive Secretary na ipatutupad nila ang (The memorandum of Executive Secretary is effective June 1 where they will implement the) Paquiz decision on the minimum salary grade of Nurse I all over the Philippines, sa mga pampublikong mga ospital (in public hospitals),” he said.

He was referring to the SC ruling in favor of the petition by Ang Nars Party-list Rep. Leah Samaco-Paquiz that government nurses are entitled to SG15.

“So ngayon po ay June 17 lang naman po, so bigyan po natin ng panahon para mapatupad ang Paquiz decision ng ating gobyerno (So now it’s only June 17, let’s give them time to implement the Paquiz decision of our government),” he added.

Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor earlier urged the DBM to tap the PHP29.3-billion compensation adjustment fund in the 2021 national budget for the demoted nurses’ back pay.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier suggested tapping the government’s Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund to pay the salary differentials of nurses affected by the DBM circular. (PNA)

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