Anakalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor filed a bill seeking a starting salary of over P60,000 for public nurses.
Defensor filed HB No.7833 amid after the government lifted the ban on deploying nurses abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are already losing around 19,000 nurses every year to foreign employers. A decade ago, we were losing only 12,000 of them annually. Unless we assure our nurses a higher standard of living here at home, we are guaranteed to lose a larger number of them in the years ahead,” Defensor warned.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Palace removed the ban after the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy appealed that they are badly in need of Filipino nurses.
Under the proposed bill, Defensor increased public nurses’ salary in government health institutions from Salary Grade 15 to Salary Grade 21.
Currently, public nurses, such as those working in the Department of Health (DoH)-run hospitals, receive a starting monthly pay of P32,053.
“We cannot match the starting pay being offered by North American and European hospitals to Filipino nurses, but we can match the rate being offered by employers in Saudi Arabia, for instance,” Defensor said.
Bill giving P60K basic salary for public nurses filed
The solon cited that Filipino nurses’ basic salary in Saudi Arabia is around P60,000 for those in hospitals and P80,000 for those providing “private duty” services.
Defensor said that in Europe, the starting monthly salary of Filipino nurses is equal to anywhere from P115,000 to P137,000, while in the United States, the pay is equal to around P185,000.
Defensor supports the passage of a separate bill, introduced by Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, that aims to raise the entry-level pay of government doctors to Salary Grade 24, or at least P86,742 monthly effective January 1, 2021.
According to theculturetrip, “The Philippines is the largest exporter of nurses in the world – out of the 2.2 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), 25% commit their lives to caring for others.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Nurses’ Association said the nurse-to-patient ratio in government institutions is 1:60, which is too far from the DOH’s ideal ratio of 1:12.