AFTER waiting for over a year, the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) heaved a sigh of relief after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued Budget Circular 2021-2 prescribing the rules and regulations on the upgrading the salary of the Nurse II position from salary grade 15 (SG15) to salary grade 16 (SG16), as well as the retention of the position titles of Nurse III to Nurse VII with the corresponding salary grade prior to demotion.
The FNU felt that the issuance of the DBM circular on August 25, 2021, issuance is a testament of the “power of nurses’ sustained vigilance” in fighting for what is right and just.
The group noted they were the first ones to expose and oppose the unjust provision of “position modification” that effectively demoted Nurse II to Nurse VII positions to one rank lower. FNU immediately registered its rejection of Budget Circular 2020-4 issued on July 17, 2020, by submitting a formal query to DBM on July 20.
They also took the lead in undertaking bold collective actions like petition-signing, lobbying, sit-down protest, hospital pickets and motorcades among others.
“From then on, we have continuously amplified our rejection and opposition to this unjust policy through series of virtual dialogues with the DOH [Department of Health], DBM and legislation in the Congress,” the group said.
“The FNU did not hold back then. We will not hold back now until the government fulfills its commitment specifically to raise the salary of Nurse II to SG16 for an estimated P3,000 monthly increase and the return to their previous ranks and positions of nurses; Nurse III to Nurse VII, affected by the earlier demotion termed “position modification” by DBM Circular in July 2020,” the group added.
They also lamented that they are witness to the “dismal” bureaucratic mayhem of both DBM and DOH, who, they claimed failed miserably in its principal task.
They said both DOH and DBM were not able to ensure the timely release of benefits and allowances due for nurses and health workers who serve as backbone in the fight against the terror of this pandemic.
“The FNU together with the thousands of nurses in the country will sustain the just fight for higher wages and humane work conditions so we can continue providing quality care for the Filipino people,” the group said.