It is likely that Filipino nurses would continue to choose higher paying jobs abroad after President Aquino vetoed the measure that would have raised the minimum wage of entry level nursing jobs in the Philippines to P26,000.
“President Aquino’s veto of consolidated House Bill 6411 and Senate Bill 2720 provides a minimum base pay for nurses of P26,000 per month will drive Filipino nurses to licensed recruitment agencies offering a minimum of P35,000 a month,” recruitment advocate Emmanuel Geslani said in a statement as quoted by Manila Bulletin.
Geslani, citing data culled from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, said that there is a steady increase in deployment of Filipino nurses for overseas destinations since 2012.
“Deployment of Filipino nurses abroad continues to rise in the past years – 15,655 in 2012, 16,444 in 2013 and 19,815 in 2014. Though POEA has not posted the 2015 statistics the figure is expected to be higher due the continuous demand for Filipino nurses all over the world,” Geslani said.
For instance, nurses in the United Kingdom receive monthly wages ranging between P80,000 to P110,000. Germany and Japan, both of which have existing bilateral labor agreements with the Philippines in hiring medical workers, along with the Middle East are popular work destinations as demand for nursing jobs is high.
Aquino defended the rejection of the supposed wage hike, saying that increasing the salary of nurses will undermine the current government salary structure and cause wage distortion not only among medical and healthcare professionals but also in other sectors of government service. In a statement, the President said the proposed increase “seemingly disregards the financial capacity of most local government hospitals” and also affects the financial viability of private hospitals and non-government health institutions, and may possibly lead to downsizing of hospital personnel and consequent increase in health care costs.
The Department of Health (DOH) and other medical experts earlier identified the exodus of medical experts among the contributing factors that prevent the government from effectively implementing its Universal Healthcare program.