A party-list congressman on Saturday expressed support for the P3.18- billion allocation in the proposed 2020 national budget to fund the 48 percent increase in the base pay of government nurses.
“We welcome the Senate’s move to simply charge the P3.18-billion to the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) in the budget, as we originally proposed,” Rep. Michael Defensor of Anakalusugan, House health committee vice chairperson, said.
Defensor is optimistic that the allotment will be approved by the budget bicameral committee once the House and the Senate versions are reconciled.
“We want the higher base pay implemented right away, not just for the benefit of our nurses in government, but also because it will put an upward pressure on the salaries of their counterparts in the private sector,” Defensor said.
“Private hospitals will have to raise their starting pay rates as well, if they want to attract continuous supply of nursing staff, many of whom are raring to leave the country in search of greener pasture overseas,” Defensor said.
The Supreme Court upheld on Oct. 8 the validity of a provision in the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 that bumped up to Salary Grade 15 (P30,531) the minimum pay of nurses retained by the national government, mostly in hospitals run by the Department of Health.
At present, their floor pay is pegged at Salary Grade 11 (P20,754).
The tribunal handed down the ruling after the House had already approved on Sept. 20 the entire budget and transmitted the copy to the Senate.
“The MPBF is a lump sum in the budget used to fund deficiencies in the authorized salaries, bonuses, allowances, associated premiums and other similar personnel benefits of national government employees,” Defensor said.
In the proposed P4.1-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2020, a total of P63.2 billion has been set aside for the MPBF, up 78 percent from P35.5 billion this year, according to Defensor.
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