With deployment ban lifted, solon wants P60k starting pay for gov’t nurses
MANILA, Philippines — Following the lifting of the deployment ban on healthcare workers, a lawmaker on Sunday called for an increase in the starting pay of government nurses to over P60,000 per month in a bid to discourage them from seeking jobs abroad.
Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor filed House Bill 7933 seeking to almost double the starting pay of government nurses from Salary Grade 15 or P32,053 to Salary Grade 21 or P60,901.
“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, vice-chairperson of the House committee on health, said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Defensor’s bill came after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the deployment ban on health workers which was initially imposed to ensure the Philippines has enough medical professionals amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“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.
The lawmaker said nurses who studied in the Philippines but are working in Saudi Arabia are paid P60,000 monthly in hospitals and P80,000 in “private duty” services.
Senator Joel Villanueva has also prodded the government to improve the salaries and benefits of healthcare workers to entice them to stay and work in the Philippines. -with report from Reuters
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