The Supreme Court (SC) ruled that government nurses are entitled by law to receive P30,531 as basic monthly pay, four years after government nurses filed a petition that seeks to increase their salary.
During a full-court session on Tuesday, the court decided to uphold the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 or the Republic Act 9173, Section 32. This states that “the minimum base pay of nurses working in public health institutions shall not be lower than salary grade 15.”
According to the SC Public Information Office (SC-PIO), “The Court declared as valid Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act.”
In 2015, Ang Nars party-list appealed to the high court after the government lowered the basic salary of nurses to Salary Grade (SG) 15. Ex-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved Executive Order (EO) 811 in 2009, in accordance with Joint Resolution No. 4, which allowed her to revise government salaries.
“In ruling in favor of the petitioners, the Court ruled that Joint Resolution No. 4, being a mere resolution, cannot amend or repeal a prior law such as RA 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act. The same applies to EO 811 which is also not a law, but an executive directive,” SC-PIO stated.
A need for a separate law
Despite, the SC cannot force the Congress to implement the petition as this would need a separate law that will allow the funding of budget.
“The Court did not grant the prayer of the petitioners to compel the implementation of Sec. 32 of RA 9173 since its implementation would necessarily require a law passed by Congress providing the necessary funds for it,” said the PIO.
Based on the existing Salary Standardization Law (SSL), SG 15 ranges from P19,845 to P30,531, which varies on the class of a city or municipality. Meanwhile, SG 10-11 earns as much as 19,233 to 22,829.
Getting low compensation and having tiring long shifts compel nurses to leave public service in the country and find jobs abroad instead.