A party-list lawmaker on Friday urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Health (DOH) to implement Malacanang’s order to increase the basic salary of most government nurses by at least P3,000.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor made the appeal after learning that nurses in Quezon City hospitals are still awaiting the pay hike.
He said the June 1, 2021 memorandum of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea reversing the demotion of nurses and increasing the salary of most of them has remained unimplemented.
“Our healthcare workers holding Nurse ll positions should have been receiving an additional P3,000 a month but they are not getting it. We call them heroes of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic together with other frontline personnel, but that’s just an empty rhetoric,” he said.
Defensor said the DBM could tap the P29.3-billion compensation adjustment fund in the 2021 national budget for the salary increase.
“The DBM should take it upon itself to immediately implement Secretary Medialdea’s directive. It was the DBM in the first place which demoted our nurses last year, including those in local government units (LGUs) throughout the country,” he added.
He pointed out that based on a previous statement of the nursing staff association at the Philippine General Hospital, most government nurses are Nurse ll holders.
According to the group, out of PGH’s 1,142 nurses, 823 or 72 percent are ranked as Nurse ll.
The demotion of government nurses, including those in LGUs, labelled by the DBM as “modification of position attributes,” is contained in DBM Circular 2020-4 issued on July 17, 2020.
Under the circular, Nurse ll to Nurse Vll positions were downgraded by one rank and Nurse Vll was abolished. Thus, Nurse ll became Nurse l, Nurse lll became Nurse ll and so on up to Nurse Vll, which was “modified” to Nurse Vl.
However, Nurse lll to Nurse Vll holders, though they suffered a one-rank downgrade, retained their corresponding salary levels, from Salary Grade 17 to SG 24 ( P39,986 to P86,743).
In the case of Nurse ll personnel, they were not only demoted in rank to Nurse 1 but their basic salary was decreased as well, from SG 16 to SG 15, or from P36,628 to P33,575, or by P3,053.
They were lumped with new recruits, who, under the law and an October 2019 Supreme Court ruling written by then Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, should receive SG 15 pay, which is now the hiring rate for government nurses.
With the OP order, all nurse positions were restored, while Nurse ll holders were entitled to SG 16 pay (minimum of P36,628, rising to P39,650 depending on length of service), instead of SG 15.