The government is still looking for the source of funding for the backpay of government nurses in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling increasing their wages, Palace presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Tuesday.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, on June 1, issued a memo increasing the salary grade of entry-level government nurses from Salary Grade 11 (P22,000) to Salary Grade 15 (P32,000).
In October 2019, Supreme Court ruled to set the base pay for government nurses at Salary Grade 15 in compliance with the Philippine Nursing Act.
According to Roque, the Department of Budget and Management was confident that it could find a budget for the increased salaries of government nurses.
“Pero doon po sa back wages… humihingi tayo ng guidance kasi mukhang wala pong sapat na funding for that for now,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
[But for back wages… we are asking for guidance because as of now there appears no sufficient funding for that.]
DMB still finding funds for government nurses’ back wages
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon called on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to use the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) and pay the salary differentials of state nurses affected by the department circular which effectively demoted Nurse II to Nurse VII positions.
Medialdea has since corrected the DBM Circular No. 2020-4, but the state nurses remained unpaid.
“I urge President Duterte to direct the DBM to fund the nurses’ backpay out of MPBF, which is designed for such needs,” Drilon said.
“The nation is forever grateful for the bravery and selfless act of our medical frontliners, most especially our nurses in crowded government hospitals, who lead the fight against COVID-19 every single day. Now that they need us, are we going to let them down?” he added.
Meanwhile, Filipino Nurses United (FNU) has condemned the implementation of 5,000 caps on the deployment of nurses abroad each year after reaching the number for 2021.
The FNU said it was not fair for other nurses who wanted a better income and were already in the process of arranging their documents, visas, and other requirements.