The salary increase for nurses working in government hospitals under the Department of Health (DOH) is now approved in Senate.
Senate approved on Wednesday the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2020 which included the P3.173 billion under the budget of DOH intended for salary increase of Nurse I and Nurse II in public hospitals.
This is in compliance with Supreme Court en banc decision on October 8, 2019 affirming the legality of Section 32 of Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002. The said section states in no uncertain terms that “the minimum base pay of nurses working in public health institutions shall not be lower than Salary Grade 15.”
Sen. Ralph Recto pushed for SG 15 implementation during the budget interpellation, saying that there is enough budget to comply with SC ruling.
“If the Supreme Court has ruled that government nurses should occupy Salary Grade (SG) 15 position and not SG 10 and 11, and if such can only be enforced through an act of appropriation, then the Senate will do its part,” said Recto.
Senator Bong Go, DOH budget sponsor in Senate, pointed out that about 40,000 nurses will benefit from the salary hike. A total of 7,193 Nurse I will get SG 15 or P30,531 basic salary, and 32,842 Nurse II will get SG 16 or P33,584 basic pay under the 4th tranche of Salary Standardization Law.
Where will they source the funding? Senator Panfilo Lacson introduced a special provision to take the P3.173 billion budget gap from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund (MPBF).
“Nurses will not wait for the passage of legislation or the availability of funds to be provided by DBM because the funds are already there under MPBF,” Lacson said.
“They don’t have to wait six months or another year. By January once we enact the GAA for 2020, ang salary upgrade nila is taken care of,” he added.
The 2020 national budget will still pass through the bicameral conference committee before submitting it to the President for signing.
If it will be signed before the year ends, government nurses will get the salary increase starting January 2020.