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Zubiri stresses need for wage hike to address nurse shortage in PH

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Friday emphasized the need for a salary increase to address the shortage of nurses in the Philippines.

In a statement, the Senate leader said nurses are paid by small local private hospitals as low as P15,000 to P20,000 per month.

“Who can blame them for leaving? Overseas, they earn somewhere around P150,000 to P200,000 a month. Our salaries and benefits offer no competition,” Zubiri said.

“They are likely overworked, looking after more than their fair share of patients as more and more of their colleagues leave for better pastures abroad,” he added. “If we want nurses to stay in the country, we need to increase their salaries. That’s really the long and short of the diaspora problem that we’re having.”

The lawmaker made the statement following President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. 's order for the Commission on Higher Education to address the shortage of the number of nurses in the country due to migration.

“I have no doubt that our nurses want to stay here. They want to be with their families, and they want to help our people. But they need to make a decent living as well, and they need to be paid in wages and benefits that are commensurate to the work that they render. If they don’t get this, then they have no other choice but to leave,” said Zubiri.

At a Senate hearing last Monday, Commissioner Erwin Enad of the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) said the Philippines has a supply of doctors, nurses, and other health workers but only a fraction of them are practicing their professions.

In his presentation, Enad showed that as of March 24, there are 951,105 registered nurses but only 53.55% or 509,297 are active.

There are also 182,300 registered midwives in the country but only 38.1% or 64,475 are practicing. For physicians, Enad said there are 159,283 registered individuals but 59.70% or 95,039 are active.—AOL, GMA Integrated News