SC holds government nurses should be at Salary Grade 15

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SC holds government nurses should be at Salary Grade 15

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) – October 9, 2019 – 1:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has upheld a provision of the Philippine Nursing Act that puts public nurses at Salary Grade 15, and not SG 11 as specified in an Arroyo-era executive order.

In an en banc session Tuesday, the high court declared Section 32 of the Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act valid. Under that provision, the minimum base pay of nurses working in public health institutions shall not be lower than SG 15.

Ang Nars party list had fought for this in 2015, as the group assailed before the SC Executive Order No. 811 issued by then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that stated that an entry-level nurse is at SG 11.

A state worker at Salary Grade 15 can earn as much as P31,545, while those at Salary Grade 11 can receive as much as P22,055.

“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,” the SC Public Information Office said in a statement on Wednesday.

RELATED: Calida: Petition pushing pay hike for nurses lacks legal basis

Implementation left to Congress

But the high court said it did not grant the petitioners’ prayer to compel the government to implement the said provision of the law since it “would necessarily require a law passed by Congress providing the necessary funds for it.”

The issue was raised during the oral arguments held February.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio then asked the petitioners: “Can this court compel, assuming that you are correct, Congress or the (Department of Budget and Management) to fund Section 12 of this Act? Can we compel Congress to appropriate funds?”

He also explained that the Congress has the “final say” on appropriations. Legislative work on the General Appropriations bill, or the national budget, for 2020 is already under way.

Carpio penned the ruling, but a copy has yet to be made public as of this story’s posting.