To entice nursing students, Senator Cynthia Villar on Sunday underscored the need to give state nurses higher pay as she lauded a Supreme Court decision which puts their minimum base pay at more than P31,000 a month.
In its recent ruling, the High Court favored Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 which states that the minimum base pay for nurses working in the government hospitals and health institutions should start at Salary Grade 15 or P31,545 per month.
In a radio interview, Villar acknowledged that it is only through higher compensation that students will be encouraged to pursue the nursing profession.
She said the salary augmentation for nurses can be allocated from unprogrammed funds.
“You have to limit yourself to the allocation for the (Department of) Health. But we have big allocation for health. Sometimes, they get from unprogrammed accounts. Perhaps we can also get from there,” she said.
Currently, the entry-level of state nurses was pegged at only P8,000 to 13,500 a month, which Villar said is not enough to compensate for their long hours of duty.
Due to the low pay, she said Filipinos nurses are forced to leave the country to seek “greener pastures” abroad.
“Government hospitals are also lamenting that they are short of nurses because only few apply. We can only reverse this if they are assured that they will have sufficient earnings in the profession,” Villar said.
“We can encourage them if they will be well-compensated in their job,” she added.
Earlier, Villar filed Senate Bill No 1266 or “A Nurse in Every Barangay Act” which seeks to give employment to nurses, assigning one registered nurse to every barangay in the country.
The bill aims to urgently address the problem of the unemployment and under-utilization of Filipino nurses.
“We have 42,000 barangays nationwide, and not all of those have a registered nurse,” she said.
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