After years of waiting, government nurses -- many of whom are now in the frontlines against COVID-19 -- are finally in line for a much-needed wage increase, after the Department of Budget and Management appropriated the funds for it.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who pushed for funding for the pay hike through an amendment to the P4.1-trillion 2020 budget, said this should provide much-needed support especially for the frontliners fighting the COVID threat.
“Definitely, no amount is enough to show our appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work of our nurses, especially those in the front lines. Still, this pay increase - which was sought even before the COVID pandemic hit - will be of help to them in one way or another,” Lacson said.
"As all of us are now dealing with the 'new normal' due to the pandemic, the pay increase should hopefully make a difference for them," he added.
On July 17, the DBM issued Budget Circular 2020-4, upgrading the entry level salaries of government nurses from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15.
It noted some P3 billion was earmarked in the 2020 budget under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund for the implementation of the salary upgrading of the nurse positions.
Through Lacson’s efforts last year, the 2020 budget contained a new special provision - “Increasing the Salary Grade of Government Nurses” - where the base pay of government nurses shall be Salary Grade 15, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision (G.R. 215746).
During his interpellation of the Department of Health’s 2020 budget on Nov. 19 last year, Lacson noted P3.173 billion is needed for the salary upgrade of government nurses, so they can attain Salary Grade 15.
As the funds are already there under MPBF, government nurses need not wait for the passage of legislation or the availability of funds to be provided by DBM, he added.
Also in welcoming the pay hike, Senator Francis Pangilinan indicated that under Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, the minimum monthly base pay of government nurses is increased from Salary Grade 11 to 15, or from P32,053 to P34,801.
Pangilinan noted that government nurses’ salaries will increase by as much as P10,000 per month under the Salary Standardization Law.
The circular is effective no later than January 1, 2020.
“This is a welcome development. Matagal nang batas ang Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, ngunit inabot ng 18 taon para ma-implement ang pagtaas ng kanilang sahod,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
He also underscored that nurses must receive their back pay from January. —LBG, GMA News