Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, son of Senator Angara, drew flak after suggesting in his Bill 5780 that the monthly basic salary for nurse practitioners be pegged at P14,000. The proposal, according to nursing advocates, is in a complete contradiction to what Nursing Law of 2002, otherwise known as R.A 9173, has been suggesting- -a Salary Grade 15 which is equal to 22, 688 for all public nurses.
“If Congressman (Sonny) Angara wishes to follow the footsteps of his father and become senator someday, he should promptly withdraw his bill, which degrades our nurses,” said TUCP president and former Sen. Ernesto Herrera who is also former chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.
“There is no way he can get the votes of our three million registered nurses and nursing graduates, if he insists on his bill,” Herrera added.
Angara, on the other hand, said that the minimum base pay of nurses in public and private health and health-related institutions should be in accordance with prevailing salary standards set by law for professionals. He said his bill also mandates that hospitals and other medical institutions provide incentives and benefits to their nurses. At present, a nurse is receiving a monthly salary of only P5,000 to P7,000 in government and private hospitals. Those working in clinics and small privately owned hospitals are getting P4,000.
Nurses currently rank as the second largest group of professionals in the Philippines next to teachers. For this reason, former Senator Herrera firmly believes that it’s the government’s role to find feasible jobs for nurses that also pay decently.
“The only reason the higher pay rate is not being enforced by public hospitals is because government claims it does not have the wherewithal,” he said.
He said even the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. led by president Dr. Eduardo Banzon is already paying nurses P15,000 monthly, which is higher than the salary being offered by Angara.
The Professional Regulation Commission estimates at 300,000 the unemployed nurses. Educators, labor leaders and even health officials have been urging incoming college students to avoid taking up nursing, amid the huge surplus of graduates.
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