President Benigno Aquino III this Thursday, June 16 vetoed the bill that seeks the increase of minimum salary of registered nurses in private and public hospitals. PNoy, whose term will officially end on June 30 to give way to the incoming Duterte administration, cited financial issues for rejecting the consolidated House Bill No. 6411 and Senate Bill No. 2720.
Titled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Nursing Law Towards Quality Health Care System, and Appropriating Funds Therefore,” the bill requests the minimum monthly pay of entry-level nurses to Salary Grade 15 which is equivalent to P24,887. SB 2720, or the Comprehensive Nursing Law of 2015 passed the Senate in November 2015.
Besides the salary increase, HB 6411 also includes – requiring the government to assign nurses in every barangay, school, and companies; free hospitalization for nurses and their dependents; free trainings and scholarship grants to nurses, hospitals will be required to institute safer Nurse-to-patient ratios, and prohibition of contractualization.
“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,” President Noynoy Aquino said in his veto message, with losing vice presidential candidate, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV being the main sponsor of the bill.
“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,” PNoy explains, as the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) has earlier requested him to veto the bill.
The president noted that the annual salary for entry-level nurses has already been increased through Executive Order No. 201, series of 2016, from P228,924.00 to P344,074.00, aside from the other benefits mentioned in the Magna Carta of Public Health. Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares authored House Bill 5541 in May 2015.
Meanwhile, President Noynoy Aquino also vetoed the enrolled consolidated House Bill No. 3675 and Senate Bill No. 2518. These bills seek the removal of conditions for the condonation of all unpaid income taxes of Local Water Districts (LWDs). According to Malacañang, outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and have already been informed about PNoy’s veto message of the two bills.