Senator Richard Gordon, stressing the significance of Filipino nurses on the primary health care system of the country, said that nurses, both in the government and private health institutions, should be compensated fairly.
“We are not producing nurses just to send them abroad. We want them to stay and take care of our people and so we need to give them the salary that they deserve and what has been authorized by the law,” he said.
Gordon strongly supports the Supreme Court’s recent decision to endorse Section 32 of Republic Act 9173 or The Philippine Nursing Act of 2002.
The law 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.
“Our nurses are overworked but underpaid. I hope our government will directly act on this by immediately implementing the Supreme Court’s ruling pertaining to their salary,” he said.
Last July, Gordon also filed a bill amending Republic Act 9173 or The Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 that proposes a new comprehensive policy for Filipino nurses that will give them opportunities to advance themselves in the nursing field while they serve the country’s growing needs for healthcare professionals.
According to the bill, “Once nurses graduate and become licensed, they should have the option to be hired by the government at a just pay and dispatched to places in the country where they are needed the most.”
Gordon has been emphasizing the need for healthcare workers in the country especially in the countryside. Based on statistics, 6 out of 10 Filipinos die without ever seeing a health care professional. He said that if the nurses will get fair compensations, “they will no longer be forced to leave the country and work abroad”, while the unemployment and contractualization problems in the nursing profession will likewise be addressed.
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), there are already 92,277 nurses who left the country since 2012. This makes the Philippines the highest importer of nurses worldwide.
“We need to keep our nurses because they are so important to public health. They are at the forefront. Let us not make them second class citizens,” Gordon said.