THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it is exploring measures to raise the salaries of nurses to address local shortages ahead of the implementation of the Universal Health care (UHC) Law.

On Thursday, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III told reporters, “We are considering adjustments to of the salaries of the nurses.”

He added that DoLE is in talks with the Department of Health (DoH) regarding this issue since nurses are attracted to overseas work by the more attractive salaries offered in other countries. Mr. Bello said regulation of nurses’ salaries can only come through legislation.

On the other hand, Mr. Bello said DoLE is still looking into the possibility of slowing down the deployment of nurses after his meeting with the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA). He was informed that nurses tend to go overseas after passing the nursing board exams and rendering two years of service in the Philippines.

“We can’t say to them that they cannot just leave so for now, we think adjustment of pay is what we can do,” he said.

He added however that decision to slow down deployment of nurses “will (depend on) a governing board resolution of POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration).”

Mr. Bello has said the government must explore ways to make nurses stay since the UHC Act was signed into law on Feb. 20.

“You’re talking about universal health care… The timing (means we need to) consider adjusting the salaries so these nurses don’t leave the country,” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez