AN opposition group said that it will push again in the next Congress for the passage into law of a measure that aims to increase the salaries of nurses.
This developed after President Benigno Aquino 3rd thumbed down the consolidated congressional measures entitled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Nursing Law Towards Quality Healthcare System, and Appropriating Funds Thereof.”
In response to the veto, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said that Bayan Muna will refile its House Bill 5540 or the proposed Comprehensive Nursing Law which aims to raise nurses’ minimum monthly salary to P25,000.
The proposed measure also aims to provide nurses with better working conditions and for the overall development of the profession.
“When we filed the bill in the last Congress, Bayan Muna recognized the unjust salary and working conditions our government nurses have, who, in the flight of many of our nurses abroad to find greener pastures, become more and more overburdened. This is happening despite the number of nurses graduating year after year in our country,” Zarate said in a statement issued on Friday.
The lawmaker also hit Aquino’s veto, saying the move was “consistently anti-worker.”
“If there is a legacy the exiting Aquino presidency could claim, it is its consistent and unrelenting callousness against our working people and the poor. Even in his last acts as President, he is cruel as he is uncaring on the urgent demands and needs of our people,” Zarate lamented.
In his veto message, Aquino reportedly pointed out that Executive Order (EO) No. 201 of 2016 already raised nurses’ annual pay from P228,924 to over P344,074.
But citing Republic Act 9173 or the Nursing Act of 2002, Bayan Muna said that nurses are supposed to receive at least P25,000 or the equivalent salary allotted for Salary Grade 15.
“May utang pa ang gobyerno sa ating mga nurse dahil hindi itinaas ang sahod nila sa kabila ng batas na ito [The government is indebted to our nurses because their salary was not raised despite this law],” Zarate said.
“We hope that this bill upgrading nurses’ salary will fare better in the next administration.
We urge our colleagues in the House of Representatives to expedite the salary hike of our nurses, as an urgent response to our exacerbating health system crisis and the pleas of our health workers, especially those in public hospitals. We also urge the incoming President Rody Duterte to support the bill to increase our nurses’ salary,” Zarate added.