On July 22, 2019, the president of the Republic of the Philippines gave his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the country’s House of Representatives’ headquarters. President Rodrigo Duterte highlighted many of his administration’s achievements and gave several marching orders to the 18th Congress. Among these priority bills is the Salary Standardization Law to increase the wages of nurses and other government workers.
Once approved, the law will be on its fifth tranche since its implementation during the previous administration. Senators expressed their intentions of sponsoring bills that will compensate nurses with up to salary grade (SG) 15 on entry-level. This is equivalent to around $600 compared to the current $150 to $265 a month.
In a convention organized by the Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines Inc., Sen. Richard Gordon said that the government failed to abide by the Republic Act 9173. Otherwise known as the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, this law states that government nurses should be paid not lower than SG 15. Sen. Francis Pangilinan also pushed for the increase hoping to discourage nurses from going abroad. Because as they leave for greener pastures, the country’s health services suffer.
Filipino nurses lauded the chief executive’s statement, giving them hope of finally attaining the long-overdue salary increase. They have been enduring long working hours and high nurse-patient ratio on top of the low pay. Aside from the salary increase, proposals also tackle ways to improve working conditions and professional growth.