Lawmakers welcomed on Monday (July 20) the Department of Budget and Management’s issuance of a circular implementing the salary increase of government nurses.
Baguio lone District Rep. Mark Go said he discussed with the DBM the concerns raised by the nurses’ group Filipino Nurses United about the non-implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the government nurses’ pay hike.
“I was able to talk to one of the undersecretaries of DBM last week and he informed me that they will come out with guidelines to implement decision of the SC regarding the nurses’ pay hike,” he said in a text message.
He noted that last Friday, July 17, 2020, the DBM issued Budget Circular 2020-4 implementing the increase in Salary Grade and salaries of government nurses effective immediately.
“This is a welcome development,” he said.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Ferdinand Gaite and ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro also welcomed the government’s move to finally implement Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, that assigned Salary Grade 15 as the minimum pay allocation of government nurses, up from Salary Grade 11.
Gaite explained that under the law, the minimum base pay of nurses working in the public health institutions shall not be lower than Salary Grade 15 to ensure that the general welfare, commitment to service and professionalism of nurses is enhanced.
Last June 9, Supreme Court declared as final and executory its October 8, 2019 ruling affirming the validity of a provision in the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, and directing the 47 percent (or P9,777) increase in the entry-level pay of government nurses.
“Justice had evaded our frontline working nurses for almost two decades and it is just fitting that especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government must provide what they rightfully need and deserve,” Gaite said.
Castro cannot help, but criticized DBM for not immediately implementing the salary increase of government nurses as directed by SC last year.
“Tagal nang desisyon ng SC yan (That was a decision handed by SC a long time ago), naging maagap sana sa implementation (there should have been immediate implementation) at naging sensitive ang DBM sa kalagayan ng mga nurses (the DBM should have been sentitive to the plight of the nurses) , lalo na ngayon na (especially now) , nagcomcomplain ang mga nurses (nurses have been complaining) na kulang sila sa (they lack) protective equipments sa pagharap nila sa mga (in facing) COVID19 patients at sila na lng gumagawa ng paraan para proteksyunan ang sarili (they are the ones who are finding wats to protect themselves),” she said.
According to the Filipino Nurses United, there are 35,000 to 45,000 government nurses in the country.