Baguio nurses rally for salary hike
BAGUIO CITY –– About a hundred nurses from Baguio hospitals and medical schools marched on Friday afternoon to demand the long-delayed salary increases and improved working environment for the nursing community.
They represented the Baguio leg of a national day of protest held in various places in the country.
Many of the marchers from institutions like the Saint Louis University wielded placards demanding that entry-level salaries for government nurses should be P30,000 to P31,000 a month, as stipulated in a Supreme Court ruling last month.
Many nurses, both in the public and private sectors, are contractual employees who receive as low as P5,000 to P7,000 in the city, the marchers complained.
“We work like zombies taking care of 40 to 60 patients for 16 hours, but the government has not given that value to our sacrifices,” said Carmen Bolinto, Baguio chapter president of the Philippine Nurses Association.
A retired nurse, Bolinto said the nursing community has been engaged in discussions about improving salaries, job security, and rational shift, and patient-to-nurse ratio.
Salary Grade 15, which sets the P30,000 base pay for new government nurses, has been part of the salary standardization law, which was passed 17 years ago, she said.
“It was never implemented. We don’t know the reason why,” said Judith Magwilang, Dean of the University of the Cordilleras College of Nursing.
She also demanded that nurses should not be contractual employees given the scope of their task as healthcare workers. “They are the primary caregivers,” Magwilang said.
“The Department of Labor and Employment knows hiring contractual nurses is illegal,” Magwilang said, as well as the practice of some hospitals not to grant them overtime pay./lzb
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