Thumbs down: Aquino vetoes bill seeking pay hike for nurses

Outgoing president Benigno Aquino III has vetoed a bill that seeks to improve the nursing profession in the country, including a salary increase for nurses.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the outgoing president rejected the consolidated House Bill No. 6411 and Senate Bill No. 2720 entitled "An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Nursing Law Towards Quality Health Care System, and Appropriating Funds Therefor."


Among the provisions of the bill is the setting of the minimum base pay of Filipino nurses to Salary Grade 15 which is equivalent to P24,887 for public and private health institutions.

"While we recognize the objective of the bill to promote the well-being of the country's nurses, we cannot support the bill in its present form because of its dire financial consequences," Aquino said.

Granting the pay hike, Aquino explained, "will not only undermine the existing salary structure of medical and health care practitioners, but will also cause wage distortion not only among health professionals but also among other professionals in government."

"Such preferential treatment in favor of nurses over and above other health professionals and professionals in the government service appears unconscionable and violative of the equal protection clause enshrined in the Philippine Constitution," the outgoing president added.

Besides affecting the viability of private hospitals and non-government health institutions, Aquino believes that the proposed law could cause "unintended repercussions, such as possible downsizing of hospital personnel and consequent increase in health care costs."

MalacaƱang has transmitted the outgoing president's veto message to current House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Aquino's term ends on June 30.