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Negros solon seeks inquiry on demotion of gov’t nurses

Rep. Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod partylist) filed a resolution Monday, March 1, seeking an inquiry into the current plight of nurses in public health institutions with the end in view of providing appropriate measures to support them.

Paduano, who is from Negros Occidental, said on July 17, 2020, the Department of Budget and Management issued Budget Circular No. 2020-4 to implement Section 32 of the Republic Act No. 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, raising the minimum monthly base pay of entry-level nurses, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020.

“The main concern of the nurses in public health institutions are the demotion or downgrading of their positions based on the DBM Budget Circular No. 2020-4, thus from Nurse 7 to Nurse 6, Nurse 6 to Nurse 5, Nurse 5 to Nurse 4, Nurse 4 to Nurse 3, Nurse 3 to Nurse 2 and Nurse 2 to Nurse 1,” he said.

Paduano, in a privilege speech in the House, said he has received complaints and appeals from various groups and individuals seeking clarification on demotion and diminution of their positions as prescribed in the DBM circular.

He said a group of nurses in Negros Occidental have appealed that the reclassification be held in abeyance.

He said the Negros Occidental nurses cited the following concerns:

*A Nurse 2 will be receiving the same salary as a Nurse 1, who is her staff, yet they are tasked to perform different levels of duties and responsibilities. A Nurse 7, which is a chief nurse position, will revert back to a Nurse 6 position;

*Promotions are not achieved overnight. Once demoted, it will be difficult for them to be promoted back to their present positions;

*Retiring nurses will suffer the most negative impact of the circular due to demotion; and

*If DOH had suspended its implementation due to absurdity, why not maintain a status quo while it is being studied further.

“Our nurses are our frontliners who have been hailed as modern-day heroes. They deserved pay hike without distorting their positions,” he said

There is a need for the government to act on this clamor and provide additional benefits, protection and compensation to medical frontliners, especially these nurses, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Paduano said.

He said he was seeking an inquiry to dissect the DBM budget circular and to determine whether additional legislation is necessary to fully implement and comply with the pay grade increase of nurses.*

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