ANG NARS Party-list has confirmation from the Supreme Court Judgment Division, Judicial Records Office that the Entry of Judgment for our Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus has already been issued by their office and released to the parties of the case, which will come shortly through registered mail.
As the duly elected representative of nurses in the Philippines, ANG NARS Party-list Rep. Leah S. Paquiz et al. filed Case Number: G.R. No. 215746 on 08 January 2015 against DOH, DBM, and the Executive Secretary asking for the full implementation of Section 32 of RA 9173, The Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, prescribing the minimum base pay of nurses working in the public health institutions shall not be lower than Salary Grade 15 (P32,053 as of 2020).
On 26 February 2019, ANG NARS Party-list Chief of Staff Atty. Sharon Faith Paquiz defended Salary Grade 15 for nurses in the Supreme Court Oral Arguments as the sole legal counsel. She faced the 13 magistrates of the highest court during the oral argument. On the other hand, Solicitor General Jose Calida represented the Executive Secretary, DOH and DBM with 20 other lawyers assisting him.
After eight months, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of ANG NARS Party-list on October 8, 2019 by upholding the validity of Section 32 of Republic Act No. 9173 in its en banc session.
Through the Paquiz Ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of SG 15 as entry pay for nurses in the government public health institutions. SG15 has not been implemented, if not recognized, by the respondents since 2002 or the enactment of RA 9173. They also 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.
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During the passage of the 2020 General Appropriations Act in 2019 and after Rep. Paquiz lobbied to the Senators and Congressmen to include the Paquiz Ruling in the 2020 GAGA by allocating funds for SG 15 for Nurse 1 and SG16 Nurse 2, the senate allocated the budget amounting to P3.2 Billion under Miscellaneous and Personnel Benefits Fund.
The implementation of the approved P3.2 Billion budget in 2020 GAA is conditional and is awaiting the Supreme Court’s issuance of Finality of Judgment due to arrive soon.
Upon receipt of the Finality of Judgment, ANG NARS Party-list will now coordinate with DBM for the issuance of the necessary Budget Circular to determine the manner of release of SG15 for Nurse 1 and SG16 for Nurse 2 pursuant to the Paquiz Ruling and 2020 GAA.
It has been eighteen years since the effectivity of Republic Act 9173, the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002. Eighteen long years had passed and yet nurses are still denied of receiving their mandated salary. Thus, we are appealing to this government that it is high time to uphold the dignity of the nurses by implementing the Salary Grade 15 as entry-level of nurses.
ANG NARS Party-list is optimistic that the Paquiz Ruling will be set as a benchmark of entry-level pay of nurses and other health workers in the public and private institutions. It is a primary rule that the salary in public and private sector be at par with each other.
“It is our goal in ANG NARS, to make the healthcare sector an effective partner of the government towards building a strong and healthy nation. And we can only do that, if our nurses and health workers have decent work and decent living wage through multi-sectoral cooperation and agreement,” declared Rep. Paquiz. (Press Release)