Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor has filed a bill that will give government nurses a starting pay of over P60,000 a month which is nearly double their current salary.
HB No.7833 was filed by Defensor amid the persisting COVID-19 pandemic in which nurses have been hailed as heroic frontliners.
The House Committee on Health vice chairman said he is seeking the significant salary hike as a way to discourage local nurses from seeking greener pastures abroad.
“We are already losing around 19,000 nurses every year to foreign employers. A decade ago, we were losing only 12,000 of them annually. Unless we assure our nurses a higher standard of living here at home, we are guaranteed to lose a larger number of them in the years ahead,” Defensor warned.
Malacañang has lifted the temporary ban on the overseas deployment of Filipino nurses and other health professionals, the congressman noted.
The Palace removed the ban – previously imposed on account of the COVID-19 crisis – following persistent appeals from the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy that badly need new Filipino nurses, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
Under Defensor’s bill, the starting pay grade of all nurses employed in public health institutions will be bumped up by six notches – from Salary Grade 15 to Salary Grade 21.
At present, nurses employed by the government, such as those in Department of Health (DoH)-run hospitals, receive a starting monthly pay of P32,053.
“We cannot match the starting pay being offered by North American and European hospitals to Filipino nurses, but we can match the rate being offered by employers in Saudi Arabia, for instance,” Defensor said.
The starting monthly pay of Philippine-educated nurses in Saudi Arabia is equal to around P60,000 for those in hospitals and P80,000 for those providing “private duty” services, Defensor said.
He said that in Europe, the starting monthly pay of Filipino nurses is equal to anywhere from P115,000 to P137,000, while in the United States the rate is equal to around P185,000.
Defensor is backing the passage of a separate bill, introduced by Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, that seeks to raise the entry-level pay of government doctors to Salary Grade 24, or at least P86,742 monthly effective Jan. 1, 2021.