SC sets oral arguments on bid to increase nurses’ salary to as much as P33,000

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has set a schedule to hear oral arguments on a petition that would grant an increase in the salary of government nurses.

SC announced that the en banc agreed to hold oral arguments on a petition filed by Ang Nars Partylist. The SC Public Information Office stated that the schedule is set on February 26, starting at 2 pm.

SC sets oral arguments on bid to increase nurses’ salary to as much as P33,000
Under the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, government nurses should be on salary grade 15 | Photo Courtesy: The Filipino Times

The petition was first filed in 2015 to compel the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to enact a provision of Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act in 2002 that would increase the salary of government nurses to as much as P31,000 per month.

Ang Nars partylist Rep. Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz cited Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, or Republic Act No. 9173, states: "The minimum base pay of nurses working in the public health institutions shall not be lower than salary grade (SG) 15.”

Back in 2009 through a a Joint Resolution 4, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 811 modifying the compensation scheme of some professions, including nurses. The EO set the salary grade of government nurses at grade 10 to 11, or as much as much as P22,055 per month.

Ang Nars Partylist’s petition wants to declare the EO as unconstitutional. Their petition states that under the current tranche of salary grades, nurses should be on salary grade 15 and earn as much as ₱31,545 per month.

Following the 4th tranche of Salary Standardization Law (SSL) and once the 2019 budget is approved, the salary of nurses could even go higher to as much as P33,279 a month.

The Supreme Court’s scheduled oral arguments will debate on whether or not the joint resolution can repeal the 2002 law, and if not, whether the SC can compel the government to follow the Nursing Act.

The SC notice stated, “The Court directs the Office of the Solicitor General to confer with the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives for the submission of their position papers on whether a joint resolution can amend or repeal an existing law, and on how the passage of a bill into law compares with the passage of a joint resolution.”

— Sally, The Summit Express

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