Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor wants to double to P60,901 the entry-level monthly wage for government nurses to discourage some of them from seeking greener pastures abroad.
“Unless we assure our nurses a higher standard of living here at home, we are guaranteed to lose a larger number of them in the years ahead,” he said.
“We are already losing around 19,000 nurses every year to foreign employers. A decade ago, we were losing only 12,000 of them annually,” he added/
Defensor is the House health committee vice chairperson.
Last Nov. 21, Malacañang lifted the temporary ban on the overseas deployment of Filipino nurses and other health-care professionals.
It removed the ban – previously imposed on account of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, following repeated appeal from the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy that badly needed new Filipino nurses, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Defensor filed House Bill 7933 with the starting pay grade of all nurses employed in public health institutions to be bumped up by six notches – from Salary Grade 15 to Salary Grade 21.
Currently, a nurse employed by the government, such as in the Department of Health-run hospitals, only receive a starting monthly pay of P32,053.
“We should at least provide our nurses the same starting pay they are getting from employers in the Middle East,” Defensor said.
“We cannot match the starting pay being offered by North American and European hospitals to Filipino nurses, but we can match the rate being offered by employers in Saudi Arabia, for instance,” he added.
The starting monthly pay of a Philippine-educated nurse in Saudi Arabia is equal to P60,000 for those in hospitals and P80,000 for those providing “private duty” services, the party-list lawmaker said.
In Europe, the starting monthly pay of a Filipino nurse is equal to anywhere from P115,000 to P137,000, while in the United States the rate is equal to P185,000, he added.
Defensor’s bill, if passed, would mandate that the starting monthly pay of a public nurse would be revised upward in accordance with Republic Act No. 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law of 2019 to P60,901 from P33,575 effective Jan. 1, 2021, P62,449 from P35,097 effective Jan. 1, 2022 and P63,997 from P36,619 effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Defensor also said he is supporting the passage of a separate bill introduced by Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez seeking to raise the entry-level pay of government physicians to Salary Grade 24, or at least P86,742 monthly effective Jan. 1, 2021.