MANILA - The minimum wage of government nurses should be at Salary Grade 15, the Supreme Court decided on Tuesday.
In a decision penned by Senior Justice Antonio Carpio during its en banc session on Oct. 8, the court decided to uphold Section 32 of Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act.
Section 32 provides that nurses in government health institutions should be receiving a minimum base pay not lower than Salary Grade 15.
"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 Supreme Court said in a statement.
Under the last tranche of Executive Order 201 signed by former President Benigno Aquino III, SG 11 and SG 15 are equivalent to a monthly basic pay of P20,754 and P30,531, respectively.
The Supreme Court, however, did not grant the appeal of the petitioners to compel the government to implement Section 32 of RA 9173 since "its implementation would necessarily require a law passed by Congress providing the necessary funds for it."
Ang Nars Party-list filed a petition at the Supreme Court in 2015 because government nurses have been relegated to Salary Grade 10-11, following the implementation of Executive Order No. 811 issued during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Section 6 of EO 811 mandated that the Salary Grade for the position of "Nurse I" be increased from Salary Grade 10 to 11.
However, this is way below the Salary Grade for nurses under RA 9173, which is Salary Grade 15.
These inconsistencies in the Salary Grade of government nurses prompted Rep. Leah Primitiva G. Samaco-Paquiz to raise the issue to the Supreme Court.