Press Release
November 20, 2019

Recto: Enough budget space to comply with SC ruling on gov't nurses pay

If the executive branch will not comply, the Senate will.

If the Supreme Court has ruled that government nurses should occupy Salary Grade (SG) 15 position and not SG 10 and 11, and if such can only be enforced through an act of appropriation, then the Senate will do its part.

The SC en banc decided on October 8 to affirm the legality of Section 32 of Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002. The said section states in no uncertain terms that "the minimum base pay of nurses working in public health institutions shall not be lower than Salary Grade 15."

The Senate's move to obey the High Court ruling was manifested on the floor yesterday during the debate on the proposed 2020 budget of the DOH:

Recto: (May Supreme Court decision) na itaas ang sweldo ng mga nurses natin to P30,000 na entry pay. Isn't this found in the law?

Go: Yes, since 2002.

Recto: If there are enough resources for FY 2020 at lumabas na ang SC decision, 'di ba dapat pondohan natin itong P3.2B na kulang sa budget for the nurses?

Go: Correct. Full support ako diyan for our colleagues.

Recto: Will the Secretary (of Health) have any objection if we put this in the budget?

Go: No

Recto: And for the record, how many will benefit from this? Roughly about 40,000 nurses?

Go: 7,193 Nurse 1 and 32,842 Nurse 2

Recto: So mga 40,000. At ang kulang na halaga ay P3.17 billion?

Go: Correct.

The challenge now is to "carve budget space" for this amount in the 2020 expenditure program. I trust that the Senate version of the 2020 GAA will reflect this sentiment of the members. There are many unfunded mandates or forgotten laws in our land today. The SC-upheld RA 9173 should not be one of these unimplemented, ignored and overlooked laws.

Senate is nursing back to life the spirit and true intent of the National Nursing Law. But because the real rule in budgeting is "the legislative proposes, the executive disposes," the latter must be on board, too.

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