THE SUPREME Court (SC) has ruled that nurses working in government health institutions should receive higher basic pay.

In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the high court declared as valid Section 32 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9173, or the Philippine Nursing Act, which states that the minimum base pay of nurses in public health facilities should be at salary grade (SG) 15.

The case stemmed from the petition of Ang Nars Party List in 2015 questioning the validity of Executive Order (EO) No. 811, signed by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, mandating that the salary for the position of “Nurse I” should be increased from SG10 to SG11.

The EO is based on Joint Resolution No. 4, which authorized the president to modify the compensation and position classification system of civilian personnel as well as the base pay schedule for military and uniformed personnel.

RA 9173, which provided for an SG15 as basic pay for government nurses, was signed into law by Ms. Arroyo on Oct. 21, 2002.

“(T)he Court declared as valid Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act,” the SC PIO said.

“In ruling in favor of the petitioners, the Court 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,” it added.

The high court, however, said it cannot grant the petition to compel the implementation of increased base pay for nurses “since its implementation would necessarily require a law passed by Congress providing necessary funds for it.”

Based on Department of Budget and Management data, an SG11 earner receives a monthly pay of P20,754 to P22,829 monthly, while SG15 earns P30,531 to P33,279. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas