Senator Richard Gordon on Monday said it was imperative that the government provide fair compensation to both private and public nurses on what is mandated by the law.
Gordon made the call as he expressed his strong support to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to endorse Section 32 of Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 that states that the minimum base pay for nurses working in the government hospitals and health institutions should start at salary grade 15 or P31,545 per month.
“We are not producing nurses just to send them abroad. We want them to stay and take care of our people and so, we need to give them the salary that they deserve and what has been authorized by the law,” Gordon said in a statement.
Gordon pointed out that Filipino nurses have a significant role on primary health care yet “our nurses are overworked but underpaid.”
“I hope our government will directly act on this by immediately implementing the Supreme Court’s ruling pertaining to their salary,” the senator said.
Gordon earlier filed a bill amending RA 9173, proposing a new comprehensive policy for Filipino nurses that will give them the opportunity to advance themselves in the nursing field while serving the country’s growing needs for healthcare professionals.
Under the bill, Gordon proposed that nurses be given an option to be hired by the government at a just pay and dispatched to places in the country where they are needed the most once they graduate and become licensed.
Gordon emphasized more healthcare workers are needed in the country especially in the countryside.
He said statistics show that six out of 10 Filipinos die without ever seeing a health care professional.
“If the nurses will get fair compensations, they will no longer be forced to leave the country and work abroad,” he said adding that the unemployment and contractualization problems hounding the nursing profession will, likewise, be addressed.
Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), he said, already show that there are 92,277 nurses who left the country since 2012. This makes the Philippines the highest importer of nurses worldwide.
“We need to keep our nurses because they are so important to public health,” he said.
“They are at the forefront. Let us not make them second class citizens,” Gordon appealed.