Roughly 22,000 healthcare workers leave the country every year to work overseas. Unemployment, underpayment and unjust working conditions are the main reasons why almost 85% of Filipino nurses decide to apply abroad.
After the former president, President Aquino vetoed the bill that would have increased the salary of entry-level nurse two weeks before he stepped down (Reason: The proposed bill will undermine the existing government salary structure and cause wage distortion not only among medical practitioners but also other professionals in the government), Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has refiled the Comprehensive Nursing Law. This was seen as a way to stop health professionals from leaving the country.
The senate bill 965 or the Comprehensive Nursing Law of 2016 aims to reform and strengthen the public health sector by ensuring adequate compensation and just working conditions for nurses. The measure seeks to raise the salary of entry-level nurses from 19,077 (Salary Grade 11) to 26, 192 (Salary Grade 15) to those working in government hospitals while those working in non-government or private health institutions the minimum salary shall also be equivalent to that of the government hospitals Salary Grade 15 (26, 192).
“We are the biggest exporter of nurses in the world but our need for medical professionals is dire. Only a number of citizens in the rural areas, especially the poor, have access to professional medical services,” Pangilinan said.
“We hope that this will encourage more of our nurses to stay in the country to work, particularly in the rural areas, where they are most needed,” he added.
Pangilinan, in another filed Senate Bill no 57, also pushed the increase in the minimum salary grade level of government doctors from Salary Grade 16 to Salary Grade 24.