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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Lawmaker vows to refile bill on nurses

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A LAWMAKER on Friday vowed to refile in the 17th  Congress next month a bill proposing a wage increase for nurses that President Benigno Aquino III had vetoed.

Rep. Carlos Zarate said Aquino’s action followed his rejection of a proposal to increase the pension  of Social Security System’s pensioners by P2,000  a month, and it confirmed his administration’s “consistently anti-worker” stance.

“If there is a legacy the exiting Aquino presidency could claim, it is its consistent and unrelenting callousness against our working people and the poor,” Zarate said. 

“Even in his last acts as President, he is cruel as he is uncaring on the urgent demands and needs of our people.”

Zarate made his statement even as a migration specialist said more Filipino nurses would now be forced to work abroad following Aquino’s veto of the bill proposing an increase in their salaries.  

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“President Aquino’s veto of House Bill 6411 and Senate Bill 2720 providing a minimum base pay for nurses of P26,000 per month will drive Filipino nurses to work abroad, which offer a minimum of P35,000 a month,” Emmanuel Geslani said.

In response to Aquino’s veto, Zarate said, Bayan Muna will refile its House Bill 5540 that will upgrade the nurses’ monthly minimum salary to P25,000.

“When we filed the bill in the last Congress, Bayan Muna recognized the unjust salary and working conditions our government nurses have,” Zarate said.

He said nurses were supposed to be given at least P25,000, the equivalent salary allotted for salary grade 15 as provided for by the Nursing Act of 2002.

“The crisis of our health system is worsened by our poor treatment of our nurses and health workers,” Zarate said.

Rep. Leah Pacquiz said she would be pushing for the passage of the bill increasing the nurses’ pay.

    She said what President Aquino III did was frustrating after all the hard work that the congressmen and senators did to pass it. 

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