Lawmakers are taking up the cudgels for government nurses who have yet to receive their salary increase amid the Supreme Court’s decision on their salary grade status.
Baguio City lone district Rep. Mark Go, chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, vowed to meet with the officials of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to discuss the concerns raised by the nurses’ group Filipino Nurses United.
On Wednesday late afternoon, Go and the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, chaired by Iligan City lone District Rep. Frederick Siao agreed to look into the non-implementation of the salary adjustment, even after the Supreme Court declared as final and executory its October 8, 2019 ruling directing the 47 percent (or P9,777) increase in the entry-level pay of government nurses.
“This representation will talk to the DBM and find out. I hope the amount was not allocated for other purpose because of this pandemic. I think that is one thing we need to be sure,” Go said during the virtual joint panel meeting on Wednesday late afternoon.
“We will talk with the DBM and see to it that this will be released to those who are supposed to be given the Salary Grade 15 (P32,053/month),” he said.
Filipino Nurses United national president Maristela Abenojar has relayed to the House joint panel that last June 9, High Court declared as final and executory its 2019 ruling that affirmed the validity of a provision in the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 that assigned SG15 as the minimum pay allocation of government nurses.
“‘Yung nasa batas ay P32,000 SG 15 para sa government nurses, pero hindi po napapatupad yan. Challenge po sa ating mambabatas, sana ipakita ang suporta sa ating professionals na ibigay kung ano ang nararapat at makataong pasahod sa kanila,” she said.
(The law entitles P32,000 SG 15 to the government nurses, but it is not being implemented. It is a challenge to our legislators, we hope they will show their support to the professionals by granting them their deserving and just pay for them.)
Abenojar noted that the higher compensation for government nurses was funded under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020.
“Finally, June 9, lumabas na po ang final and executory decision ng SC at na-iemail na po nila yun sa DBM, DOH at sa Executive Secretary. Kaya inaabangan po namin ngayon, kung naemail at kung ‘yun ang hinihintay lang na guidelines eh di sana July na po, sana umuusad na ang guidelines at nirerelease na ang SG 15 sa mga nurses natin,” she said.
(Finally, June 9, the SC issued its final and executory decision and they emailed it to the DBM, DOH and to the Executive Secretary. That’s why we are waiting, if it is emailed and it is needed for the guidelines, now is already July, we hope this guidelines will move forward and that the SG 15 will be released to our nurses.)
There are 35,000 to 45,000 government nurses in the country, she said.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Ferdinand Gaite noted that around P3 billion was allocated for the salary adjustment of the government nurses under the Salary Standardization law (SSL) 5.
“Wala ng balakid sa pagpapatupad nito para maincentivize rin ang ating mga nurses na manatili sa ating bansa,” he said.
(There is no hindrance to implement this to incentivize our nurses to let them stay in our country.)
ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro urged her colleagues to ensure the full implementation of the salary increase.
“Let’s review this. We should implement this,” she said.