Lacson plans to ‘gradually but surely’ adjust salary rates of nurses, teachers in state-run hospitals

Published March 10, 2022, 4:22 PM

by Mario Casayuran

A Lacson presidency will ‘gradually but surely’ adjust salary rates of nurses and teachers in state-run hospitals and educational institutions.

Given the chance to lead the government, Partido Reporma standard-bearer Senator Panfilo ‘’Ping’’ M. Lacson said he would recalibrate the national budget and allocate the funds necessary to achieve this goal.

The possibility of adjusting the salaries of nurses and teachers was discussed Wednesday when Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente ‘’Tito’’ C. Sotto III held a town hall meeting with Pasig City residents.

One of the participants raised the issue of the low salary of nurses in the country, which is among the primary reasons cited by most Filipino nurses who decide to take their talents abroad.

Lacson recognized that so far only the uniformed personnel received significant salary adjustments under the current administration.

But through judicious spending and sound fiscal policies—beginning with cutting out non-essential government expenses—the presidential aspirant said gradually raising the base pay of nurses and teachers to the same salary grade levels could be done.

‘’We can do it through a staggered approach. But what we can tell you is that, because of the huge number of unused appropriations in the national budget, we can implement it. That is doable—to adjust the salaries of nurses and teachers to the same level as the salaries of the police, military, and all our uniformed services personnel including the Philippine Coast Guard,’’ Lacson said.

To prove that he could deliver on this promise, Lacson mentioned he actually played a role in finding the P3-billion fund needed to augment the base pay of entry-level government nurses to salary grade 15, which is north of P35,000, after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the senior-level state nurses, who complained about not getting the corresponding adjustments to their respective salary grades.

‘’Because it happened during our budget deliberation. I was the one who found the P3-billion budget necessary to implement the pay hike of nurses. Because I was the one who was diligently analyzing the national budget. I was always scrutinizing, trying to find out which agency budget could be realigned, so we could implement that,’’ he pointed out.

Lacson acknowledged the view of the Pasigueña mother, who raised the issue during the forum, that it is high-time to reward our public sector nurses with more competitive salary rates, considering the sacrifices they continue to make by putting themselves on the forefront of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and other communicable diseases.

The Partido Reporma chief said this is the reason he and Sotto moved to include a provision for the special risk allowance of nurses, healthcare workers and other medical frontliners on the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act’ that the 18th Congress passed in March 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“So, lahat ng paraan ginagawa natin para kung hindi man maipasok sa sweldo, sa mga allowances man lang o mga risk allowance, hazard pay may dagdag kaya umabot po ng P35,000… So, kaya po ‘yan basta’t masinop lang tayo sa pagpapasa o kaya pag-i-implementa ng ating national budget (We did everything possible so that even if we cannot insert it on salary adjustments, at least we can provide it for the allowances, risk allowance or hazard pay that’s how it got to P35,000… So, we can do it as long as we are prudent [on our public spending] or with respect to the implementation of our national budget),’’ Lacson said.