SC sets to hear petition to increase salary of nurses

Maris Federez   •   February 27, 2019   •   3718

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has set for March 4 the hearing on the petition that seeks to increase the salary of nurses.

The petition, filed by NARS Partylist in 2015 by then Representative Leah Primitiva Samaco Paquiz, asked the SC to issue a directive to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to implement the additional provisions of Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002.

Section 32 of RA 9173 provides that the minimum base salary of public nurses is at Salary Grade 15.

On June 17, 2009, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Executive Order Number 811 which adopted the first tranche of the modified salary schedule of civilian personnel and base pay schedule of military and uniformed personnel in the government.

This, as well as the adoption of the modified position classification system for government offices, was pursuant to Senate and House Representatives Joint Resolution No. 4, series of 2009.

The said Executive Order set the salary schedule for nurses at grade 11.

In RA 9173, SG 15 will provide nurses with base salary of more than 30 thousand pesos, a big leap from that of salary grade 11 which was set at only around 22 thousand pesos. – Maris Federez (With report from Mai Bemudez)

Correction:

An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that the hearing was set for February 4.

Nurses’ group warns of mass resignation over delayed allowances, benefits

Marje Pelayo   •   August 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino Nurses United on Monday (August 23) began its 10-day countdown for the government to release the special risk allowances (SRA) and other benefits intended for frontline health workers.

This, in particular, refers to nurses working in private hospitals and other COVID-referral hospitals.

“Iyong mga kasamahan natin na talaga naman pong frustrated na na walang nangyayari. Ang iba po talaga sa kanila ay gustong gusto nang mag-resign,” said FNU president Maristela Abenojar.

“Kung hindi matutuloy ang pangako nilang mai-release ang benepisyo until September, I’m sure mabilis pa ang
pagbagsak ng resignation paper ng ating mga kasamahang nurses,” she added.

The FNU stressed that they should receive their compensation or the SRA on time, but up to now, the fund has not been released.

Some nurses — especially those in contractual status in COVID-referral hospitals — say that despite being paid on a daily basis, they are not receiving any other compensation regardless of the risk and sacrifices that their job entails.

There are times when they don’t receive anything at all owing to the ‘no work, no pay’ policy, even if the reason for the absence is the mandatory two-week quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 cases.

“Sana habang contractual kami maranasan namin yang mga benepisyo na nakalagay po sa magna carta of public health nurses,” noted Nico, a contractual nurse.

“Kami po ay dapat nakakatanggap ng mga hazzard pay, nakakatanggap dapat kami ng mga night differential o ng mga holiday pay,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte had previously ordered the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the funds for special risk allowances and other compensations that health care workers are entitled to.

Duterte said the DOH may use its contingency funds to do so with a promise that the said fund will never be used as part of election campaign spending.

Meanwhile, Malacañang called on the disgruntled healthcare workers to reconsider their decision to resign en masse.

“Huwag naman po sana, dahil nag order naman po ang Presidente na within 10 days from last Friday ay kailangan maibigay na itong special risk allowance,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

“Kapag nag-resign po sila dadami ang hanay nang walang trabaho sa panahon ng pandemya. Mas lalala po ang problema natin kung mas marami ang walang trabaho. Wala naman po tayong karagdagang ayuda na maibibigay,“ Roque added.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act 2, a medical frontliner is entitled to receive P5,000 SRA. Nurses in private hospitals are asking for at least P3,000 monthly hazard pay. MNP (with reports from Janice Ingente)

SC junks petition vs PH withdrawal from ICC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (March 16) unanimously junked petitions against the Philippines ‘ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The high court said the issue of the country’s withdrawal from the ICC  has been considered moot as the withdrawal has already taken effect on March 17, 2019.

“In a unanimous decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, the Supreme Court dismissed the Petition questioning the unilateral withdrawal for being moot and academic,” the SC said in a briefer released on Tuesday (March 16).

The statement released by the SC public information office says the decision acknowledged that the President, as the primary architect of foreign policy, is subject to the Constitution and existing statute.

Therefore, the power of the President to withdraw unilaterally can be limited by the conditions for concurrence by the Senate or when there is an existing law that authorizes the negotiation of a treaty or international agreement or when there is a statute that implements an existing treaty,” it added.

Two petitions were filed against President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the ICC, stating the decision still requires concurrence from two-thirds of the members of the Senate.

“The Court also noted that the judiciary has enough powers to protect human rights contrary to speculations raised by the petitioners,” the briefer reads.

Duterte made the announcement in March 2018, after the ICC announced it will conduct a preliminary investigation on the government’s war on drugs. -AAC

UK, Germany requesting more health workers from the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has increased the demand for health workers all over the world.

In the Philippines, the national government put in place a deployment cap of 5,000 health workers for 2021 to make sure that the country will have a sufficient number in case the COVID-19 infection worsens.

But the governments of the United Kingdom and Germany appealed to the Philippines to deploy more health workers given that the country is one of the top exporters of this field and expertise.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there is an ongoing negotiation on this request.

The Philippine government, however, has several conditions before approving the matter.

One is that the requesting countries, in return, should give the Philippines COVID-19 vaccines.

“Ang nire-request ni Secretary Bello ay para sa ating mga OFWs. So ito ang mga OFWs na na-repatriate na dito including yung mga OFWs din na papaalis,” explained DOLE Director for International Labor Affairs Alice Visperas.

The official said there are around 600,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were repatriated and some of them were redeployed.

“Karamihan sa mga bansa ngayon na kumukuha ng workers. Gusto nila may vaccine na yung kukunin nilang workers. Darating din ang panahon baka hindi na sila kukuha pag hindi pa nabibigyan ng vaccine,” Visperas noted.

Another condition is the renegotiation for Labor agreement in favor of OFWs in the said countries.

DOLE said the matter is now on the ministerial level and is, so far, receiving a possible response.

But the Filipino Nurses United seemed offended with the way the government is treating the country’s nurses.

“Sa FNU na turn off kmi, disgusted na parang commodities o export products trato sa amin ng gobyerno,” the group said in a statement.

“Two separate issues iyon. Kung gustong mag-abroad ng nurses karapatan nila iyon. Huwag gamiting trade off. Kung kailangan natin ng bakuna, mag procure,” it added.

The Philippine Nurses Association, on the other hand, supports the government on the matter but as for the number, there should be a careful study first as to how many nurses will be allowed to leave.

“Kung manggagaling yan sa government and merong benefit ang Pilipinas with that I think we should welcome yung idea,” noted PNA President Melbert Reyes.

“But it should make sure sana na may maiiwan dito sa Pilipinas to take care of our people,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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