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Higher nurses pay urged to prevent exodus abroad

A HOUSE leader has filed a bill seeking to double to P60,901 the entry-level monthly pay for government nurses to discourage at least some of them from seeking greener pastures abroad.

“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,” warned Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, chairman of the House committee on public accounts and House health committee vice-chairperson.

Malacañang on Saturday lifted the temporary ban on the overseas deployment of Filipino nurses and other health professionals.

Under Defensor’s House Bill (HB) 7933, the starting pay grade of all nurses employed in public health institutions will be bumped up by six notches – from Salary Grade 15 to Salary Grade 21.

At present, nurses employed by the government, such as those in Department of Health-run hospitals, receive a starting monthly pay of P32,053.

Once Defensor’s bill is enacted, the starting monthly pay of public nurses will be revised upward in the following manner, in accordance with Republic Act No. 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law of 2019: P60,901 (from P33,575) effective Jan. 1, 2021; P62,449 (from P35,097) effective Jan. 1, 2022; and P63,997 (from P36,619) effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, Defensor is backing the passage of a separate bill, introduced by Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, that seeks to raise the entry-level pay of government physicians to Salary Grade 24, or at least P86,742 monthly effective Jan. 1, 2021.