A PARTY-LIST group is pushing for the salary increase of Filipino nurses and standardized pay for barangay-based health workers following the dismal condition in their salary grades.
“It will be a disservice to our dedicated, if not overworked, public nurses if we do not give the compensation due them,” said former representative now Anakalusugan party-list nominee Mike Defensor.
“To avoid legal confusion, we will remedy this by pushing for a new measure that will give just compensation to our state nurses and increase their minimum base pay to Salary Grade 15,” he added.
Defensor said they are keen on pushing for their bill despite the legal debate on whether a joint resolution of Congress can repeal the section on the compensation of the Philippine Nursing Act.
Solicitor General Jose Calida reportedly said the government cannot be compelled to increase the salary of public nurses “without any legal basis.”
“Calida said Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, which increases the entry-level pay of nurses in public health institutions to Salary Grade 15, has effectively been repealed by a 2009 Joint Resolution by Congress,” said Defensor.
Joint Resolution 4 repealed all provisions of all laws prescribing salary grades for government officials and employees other than those in the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, which effectively set back the minimum base pay of state nurses to Salary Grade 11.
Meanwhile, Defensor said they will work for the passage of a law that would standardize the salary and allowances of barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars.
“Barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars are our frontliners at the grassroots level. The recent measles outbreak showed the critical roles that they play in delivering medical services to our kababayans, especially those in areas where there are no public hospitals and public doctors,” Defensor said.
In a statement, he said the government “should reward barangay health workers (BHW) and barangay nutrition scholars (BNS) for their service.”
BHW and BNS receive honoraria for their services, but these are not fixed and vary per local government unit.
They also do not enjoy the security of tenure, and thus find themselves at risk of losing their jobs after every election period, the group said.
According to Defensor, the barangay-based health workers have the biggest responsibility in providing health care services to the public, especially among poor families, yet they themselves remain marginalized.
“They are our unsung heroes who are not just underpaid but are also under-appreciated,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)