BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano said yesterday that he will call for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the budget circular of the Department of Budget and Management on the pay grade of nurses.
Paduano said that he received several complaints and appeals from groups and individuals seeking clarification on what they claimed to be “demotion and diminution of positions” because of the DBM circular.
DBM Circular 2020-4 upgraded the salary grade of nurse 1, from SG11 to SG15, but lowered the SGs of nurses 2 to 7 one step.
A group of nurses in Negros Occidental described the circular “very awkward” and has appealed that the reclassification be held in abeyance, Paduano said.
The group, in their letter to Paduano, argued that under the circular, a nurse 2 will receive a salary similar to nurse 1, who is on her staff, while a nurse 7, who holds a chief nurse position, will revert to nurse 6.
They also stressed that promotions are not achieved overnight, adding that it will be difficult for them to be “promoted back” to their present positions, while retiring nurses will suffer the most negative impact of the circular due to demotions, he said.
“With that circular, our hopes of getting a better life in the Philippines were shattered,” the nurses added.
Paduano said that nurses, being frontliners, have been hailed as modern-day heroes, and they deserve a pay hike without distorting their positions.
Unlike members of the Philippine National Police, whose salary increase did not affect their positions, the nurses are crying foul, he also said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has already issued a suspension order due to mounting clamors, but Paduano said it did not cover hospitals and other health facilities run by local government units that are compelled to comply with the circular. “Let justice be done to our registered nurses,” he added.*