Fair deal for nurses

July 15, 2019

Parity, not premium.

A salary scale that is just, reasonable, and reflects or at least approximates current global pay standard for their kind.

Is this asking too much?

Not at all. As  a matter of fact, it is what a global hamburger restaurant  chain calls “value for money”.

Our nurses and related health professionals are truly world-class.

The proof of this is their seemingly unstoppable departure for greener pastures overseas where their industry and professionalism are better appreciated – financially, that is.

Here at home, nurses, midwives, nursing aides, and related workers who work long, unholy hours are virtually paid starvation wages.

If, by working abroad, these health workers earn more for their famillies at home and pay more correspending taxes to the government, shouldn’t the State be more accomodating to their needs and supportive of their welfare?

Thus, Sen. Richard J. Gordon stressed that Filipino nurses should be compensated fairly and that the government should have a clear policy that will be beneficial to them.

Gracing the 45th Annual Convention and Scientific Meeting of the Operation Room Nurses Association of the Philippines, Inc. at the Manila Hotel, Gordon stated his plan of proposing a bill focusing on the welfare of Filipino nurses, which includes a higher and just remuneration for them as he emphasized the significance of their role in the primary health care system of the country.

"The nurses are so important to public health. They are at the forefront. Why are we making them second class citizens?" he said.

From 2012-2018, there are 148,623 registered nurses in the country. Under Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nurses Act of 2001, the minimum base pay of nurses working in the public health institutions shall not be lower than salary grade 15 or P30,531 per month. However, an entry-level nurse only receives a salary of P8,000 to P13,500 on a monthly basis.

"The government promised them SG-15 pero hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin nakukuha. Mali iyan. Dapat once you pass the exam, it is the duty of the government to give you opportunities. I will lead you to lobby that in the Senate. The noisy wheel gets the oil. Nurses are precious," Gordon said.

Since the nurses do not get the right amount of salary as stated in RA 9173, they are forced to work abroad where they can earn more. According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, since 2012,  already 92,277 nurses have left the country. This makes the country  the highest exporter of nurses worldwide.

The lawmaker said the government should come up with a strategic and workable plan so that there is no need for nurses to leave the country and  they could serve their fellowmen instead.