Casiño proposes increase in salary in nurses

Lawmakers today moved to increase the salary of government nurses in a bid to attract thousands of fresh nursing graduates to stay in the country and serve their fellow Filipinos.

House Bill 5230 will upgrade the minimum salary grade level of nurses in public hospitals and other health institutions from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15. 

The authors of the bill are Reps. Teddy Casiño and Neri Javier Colmenares (Party-list Bayan Muna), Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Anakpawis), Emmi de Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela), Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan) and Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers).

"The bill will rectify the gross neglect of these public servants and encourage them to work in the country instead of going abroad," Casiño said.

Casiño said when Congress passed Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act in 2002, public nurses all over the country thought it was to be a reprieve from their long sentence of inhumanely low wages.

"It was proven to be an empty promise, with the government failing to allocate funds for the law’s implementation," Casiño said.

Casiño said there is a shortage of working nurses in the country despite the mushrooming of nursing schools and the large number of nursing graduates.

Citing a report of the Alliance of Health Workers, Casiño said nurses who are supposed to receive at least P24,887, which is equivalent to Salary Grade 15 based on the Nursing Act of 2002, receive only P15,649, equivalent to the amount being received by those in Salary Grade 11. 

Casiño said while the Department of Health and Department of Budget and Management assured what nurses get would be as good as what is in the Philippine Nursing Act, the salary grade of public hospital nurses, however, will rise only up to Salary Grade 11 although the Nursing Act provided it should be Salary Grade 15.

The bill to be known as "Government Nurses' Salary Upgrading Act of 2011" will provide adequate remuneration for health workers to enhance general welfare and attract and retain its rightful share of talents with the end in view of fulfilling the state policy of providing essential health services to all Filipinos.

The bill provides that the present minimum salary grade of government nurses (Nurse 1) shall be upgraded from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15. Likewise, salary grade levels of those occupying higher positions shall be adjusted accordingly.