Nurses’ pay hike bill re-filed

By Hannah Torregoza/ – Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan yesterday pushed anew for the passage of a bill that seeks to raise the salary of entry-level nurses.

Pangilinan said it is one way to stop some 22,000 health professionals from leaving the country every year.

Pangilinan is referring to Senate Bill 965, or the Comprehensive Nursing Law of 2016, which aims to reform and strengthen the public health sector by ensuring adequate compensation and just working conditions in the nursing profession.

In re-filing the bill, Pangilinan said the salary of entry-level nurses should be raised from Salary 11, equivalent to P19,077 to Salary 15, equivalent to P26,192.

“Thousands of our health professionals choose to work overseas because of unemployment and unjust compensation,” Pangilinan said.

“We are the biggest exporter of nurses in the world, but our need for medical professionals is dire. Only a number of citizens in the rural areas, especially the poor, have access to professional medical services,” Pangilinan said.

Citing World Health Organization (WHO) data, Pangilinan said an estimated 22,000 health professionals leave the Philippines annually to work abroad.

He said almost 85 percent of Filipino nurses citing “unemployment, low salaries, and unjust working conditions” as primary reasons for leaving.

Republic Act 9173, or the Nursing Law of 2002, provides that the salary grade of nurses working in government institutions shall not be lower than 15. But the issuance of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) III in 2009 pushed back the basic pay of government nurses to Salary Grade 11 (P19,077 in the first tranche), he explained.

The bill, he said, also aims to establish a Board of Nursing that will “supervise and regulate the practice of the nursing profession,” including the proper conduct of the Nursing Licensure Examination, as well as enforcing quality standards of nursing practice, among others.

“We hope that this will encourage more of our nurses to stay in the country to work, particularly in the rural areas where they are most needed,” Pangilinan said.

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