Congress urged to facilitate nurses’ pay hike |

Porcalla, D. (2019, October 21). Congress urged to facilitate nurses’ pay hike. Philstar. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from

Congress urged to facilitate nurses’ pay hike
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) – October 21, 2019 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate and the House of Representatives should pass a joint resolution authorizing the increase in the basic pay of government nurses to avert the mass exodus of these medical professionals who remain in demand overseas, a party list congressman has proposed.

“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,” Rep. Mike Defensor of party-list Anakalusugan proposed.

The vice-chairman of the House committee on health pointed out that it is unfair for nurses in the public sector to have a base pay or entry level of P20,754 monthly, pegged at Salary Grade 11 based on the Salary Standardization Law.

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

A joint resolution is one approach, and depending on the overall cost, Congress could simply authorize the sourcing of the money from the lump sum Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) in the budget, he said.

“Congress did this in 2017, when it passed a joint resolution authorizing the increase in the base pay of military and uniformed personnel, and sourcing the cash from the MPBF,” Defensor pointed out.

“Our sense is, Congress is ready to implement the improved compensation for nurses, as provided for by law and upheld by the Supreme Court. It is just a question of how best to do it,” he explained further.

“In any case, for us to be able to fund the pay increase, the House committee on appropriations has to ascertain the extra money required, and Malacañang, through the DBM, may have to certify the availability of funds,” Defensor said.

Defensor also raised the possibility that Congress might just include the higher remuneration for nurses in the new Salary Standardization Law (SSL) that President Duterte himself wants passed.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address, the President had urged Congress to pass a new version of the SSL meant “to increase the salaries of national government workers, including teachers and nurses.”

The SC recently upheld the validity of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, which ratcheted 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 would instead depend on how big the province, city or municipality is.

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