Zarate bats for add-on budget to fund P30k basic pay for gov’t nurses
MANILA, Philippines — Congress may pass a supplemental budget to fund the P30,531 minimum monthly salary of government nurses as affirmed by the Supreme Court (SC), House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said Thursday.
The High Tribunal has upheld the validity of a provision in the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 which states that the minimum base pay of government nurses should not be lower than the salary grade 15 although it also said it could not compel Congress to implement such. The decision was made during an en banc session on Tuesday and was penned by Senior Justice Antonio Carpio.
Zarate said the budget needed to implement this is unlikely to be included in the 2020 General Appropriations Bill which was already passed by the House of Representatives last July 20 and is being deliberated by the Senate.
“Hindi ito maihahabol so kailangan talagang ikampanya pa ‘yan… Ang pwedeng gawin dyan kung hindi na ito maihahabol sa General Appropriations Bill for 2020 ay pwede naman gawan ito ng supplemental,” Zarate said in a press conference.
(The salary hike for government nurses may no longer be included in the GAB for 2020 so we need to campaign for this or pass a supplemental budget.)
Zarate further warned that the Duterte administration, as well as Congress, could not just ignore the ruling of the SC. A supplemental budget may be passed through a joint resolution which requires the approval of both chambers of Congress and, once signed by the President, becomes a law.
It was Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who earlier raised the problem on funding as the pay hike was not included in the National Expenditure Program the Department of Budget and Management prepared for 2020.
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite nonetheless maintained that “it is high time that the hard work and sacrifices of our nurses be rightly acknowledged and compensated.”
“The SC decision and our other bills can also help to reverse the exodus of nurses from our country especially during this time of polio, dengue, measles, and public health crisis,” the progressive lawmaker added in a statement./ac
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