/ 30 October 2022

SENATOR Imee Marcos recommended the inclusion of pledge of service arrangements in scholarship programs for nurses beyond the stopgap measure of resetting deployment limits in order to assure the steady workforce of new nurses every year.

In her recommendation, the senator said the proposal is a long-term solution that will give nursing students the educational security they need.

She assured the Philippine Nurses Association agrees with her.

“Until such incentives can be legislated, the government should not curtail a nurse’s choice to leave for work overseas,” Marcos said.

The lady senator said a legislative measure that can convince Filipino nurses to stay in the country is for Congress to raise their salary grade in private hospitals to Level 15 or a minimum of P35,097.

The lawmaker said the Department of Budget and Management should rethink its policy of excluding contractual nurses from the salary upgrade and for the Department of Health to prioritize them for regular employment.

“Even contractual nurses were tried and tested during the Covid19 pandemic. Buwis-buhay din sila gaya ng mga regular,” she said.

Marcos added Congress can also give permanence to healthcare workers’ special risk allowances, which will expire when the state of public health emergency ends on December 31.

With final budget deliberations to begin in November, she urged fellow lawmakers to support these proposed reforms for the nursing profession.

Marcos said this is in anticipation of inseparable public health and economic challenges in the months to come wherein the global nursing shortage, which the International Council of Nurses put at 17 percent, has created higher-income opportunities abroad for Filipino nurses.

However, the senator warned their departure will weaken the country’s ability to cope with public health emergencies during pandemics and natural calamities.