Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for signing a memorandum which raises the salary grade of government nurses in the Nurse II positions.
This level was raised from SG-15 from SG-16 following an earlier adjustment made to upgrade the pay of entry-level nurses (Nurse I) from SG-11 to SG-15.
“Una ko nang inapila ito at sinuportahan ang rekomendasyon ng DOH. Kung ano mang tulong at suporta na pwedeng maibigay sa health workers ay ibigay na natin sa lalong madaling panahon. Sila ang mga bayani sa laban natin kontra pandemya,” he reiterated.
Go was one of those who pushed for as early as 2019 and ensured enough funding is allocated for the implementation of a Supreme Court decision upholding Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 which increases the minimum salary grade of the Nurse I position to SG-15 eighteen years after a law providing such increase was enacted.
On July 2020, the Department of Budget and Management issued Budget Circular No. 2020-4 to implement the ruling as it provides for the upgrading of the SG allocation of the Nurse I position from SG-11 to SG-15.
However, as a result, those who are Nurse II at present and, as such, are already receiving SG-15, will find themselves with their salary unchanged and with their positions reclassified to Nurse I.
Given this, the DOH proposed to raise the SG of Nurse II to SG-16. Go expressed his support for the DOH’s proposal, saying that the movement of nurses holding Nurse II is necessary to ensure their compensation is commensurate to their position.
The Senator explained that the functions of the former Nurse Il position merited a higher qualification standard, skills and experience and, therefore, a higher salary grade as opposed to Nurse I.
“Sa desisyong ito ng gobyerno, maibibigay na natin sa mga government nurses na nasa Nurse II position ang sweldo na naaayon sa kanilang kaalaman, kasanayan, at karanasan,” he added.
Go has earlier appealed to the national government to consider the said adjustment, saying that the movement of nurses holding Nurse II is necessary to ensure their compensation is commensurate to their position.
While acknowledging budget as a legitimate concern, Go mentioned that the welfare of the nurses outweighs the identified budget constraint especially during the pandemic.
“Higit sa 3,000 nurses na po ang nag-abroad sa unang tatlong buwan nitong taon, habang 10,000 nurses naman ang lumabas ng bansa noong 2020,” said Go.
Moreover, Go filed Senate Bill No. 395, also known as the “Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2019”, which seeks to protect and improve the nursing profession by instituting measures that will result in relevant nursing education, humane working conditions, better career prospects and a dignified existence for our nurses.
Previously, Go has also successfully appealed for the inclusion of frontliners of the Professional Regulation Commission, which shall include proctors and watchers for upcoming professional board exams, among the essential sectors to be considered part of the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination.
This will allow the agency to conduct nursing board examinations earlier in July of this year.
Meanwhile, President Duterte also issued Administrative Order No. 43 which provides all regular, contractual o casual, contract of service, job order or of any other classification, who physically reports for work in areas affected by Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECG) and its modified version (MECQ), to receive hazard pays.
AO No. 43 amended AO No. 26 issued last March 23, 2020 to include government personnel in receiving compensation no0t exceeding P500 a day while ECQ and MECQ is in effect in their respective work areas.