DBM urged to use MPBF to cover salary differential of nurses in gov’t hospitals

Published June 8, 2021, 2:18 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Tuesday called on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to use the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) to pay for the salary differentials of nurses in public hospitals in the country.

Drilon noted these nurses were affected by the DBM circular that effectively demoted Nurse II to Nurse VII positions. Though the DBM circular was corrected by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the salary differential of affected nurses have yet to be paid.

“I urge President Duterte to direct the DBM to fund the nurses’ backpay out of MPBF which is designed for such needs,” Drilon said in a statement.

“The nation is forever grateful for the bravery and selfless act of our medical frontliners, most especially our nurses in crowded government hospitals, who lead the fight against COVID-19 every single day,” Drilon said.

“Now that they need us, are we going to let them down? Our frontline nurses are very important. Let’s give what is due them. Let’s not hold their salary and make it difficult for them,” he stressed.

According to Drilon, the MPBF has an appropriation of P56.6-billion in 2020 and P29.3 billion in 2021 but based on the average utilization rate from the past five years, he said the MPBF has unutilized balances in the amount of P18.4-billion for 2020 and around P9.5-billion for 2021.

Usually, the senator said the MPBF is not fully utilized and is declared savings by the end of the year.

“Let’s use the MPBF to pay the salary differential of our nurses. They risk their lives each day attending to the growing number of COVID-19 cases. What the DBM did is injustice to our frontline health workers,” Drilon stressed.

“This is a small amount compared to their contributions to the fight against COVID-19. This is peanuts compared to billions of pesos that is lost to corruption each year. This is nothing compared to the P16.4 billion released to NTF-ELCAC,” he said, referring to the government’s anti-insurgency task force.