By Corina Oliquino
MANILA — A recent study by iPrice Group found Filipino nurses and medical technologists, on a monthly basis, earn ₱40,381 and ₱29,444, respectively while their counterparts in Singapore get ₱236,000.
The study, which covered the salaries of mid-level and experienced frontliners in six fields including registered nurses, delivery truck drivers/helpers, medical technologists, supermarket clerks, warehouse workers and security guards in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, found Filipino nurses’ salary level is 57 percent lower than the average salary of their Vietnamese counterparts who earn ₱63,200 monthly.
Filipino medical technologists, on the other hand, also get less than their Vietnamese counterparts who take home ₱57,000 per month.
Singaporean nurses and medical technologists earn the highest in the region monthly at ₱236,000 and ₱210,000, respectively.
According to data from the Economic Research Institute-powered company Salary Expert, nurses in Malaysia earn ₱97,000, Thailand ₱83,000, Indonesia – ₱79,000.
In a report by One News in The Philippine Star, iPrice noted that the salaries of other Filipino frontliners are higher than their Vietnamese counterparts.
Filipino supermarket clerks earn ₱13,300 per month, security guards ₱15,400, warehouse workers ₱14,500 or 54 percent lower than their Vietnamese counterparts and delivery truck/drivers at ₱23,500.
However, the country’s standard of living does not compensate frontliners’ salaries, with the average household spending at ₱19,917 per month.
“We can see how many frontliners struggle to make ends meet while risking their lives,” iPrice Group said.
“Looking at this data and comparison, we can have an idea of how much more comfortable Malaysians’ quality of life may be compared to Filipinos,” the firm noted.
Malacañang eyes higher salary for nurses, medical workers
In another report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a virtual press briefing last September 3, said Malacañang recognizes the need to increase the salary of nurses and other medical workers, particularly those who work in public hospitals and health institutions.
Roque said the solution is to raise the salary grades of healthcare workers under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL), noting the government is addressing the issue through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 which provides ₱40.5 billion to fund the government’s health-related programs.
“Ang solusyon po diyan ay siguro bago iyong classification—o baguhin iyong classification ng nurses sa government Salary Standardization Law nang mailagay ang mga frontliners natin sa mas mataas na salary grade ‘no,” he said, noting private employers should also increase the salary of their healthcare workers.
“Ngayon pong maraming nurses na gustong umalis, siguro naman iyong mga pribadong ospital magbibigay rin nang mas mataas na sahod para engganyuhin na manatili sa Pilipinas ang mga nurses,” he said.
In the same report by One News, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) Governing Board issued Resolution No. 9 last April which suspends the deployment of medical and allied health workers as part of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last August 17, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 64 supporting POEA’s resolution “considering the continuing state of public health emergency” in the country.
On August 20, presidential spokesman Harry Roque reiterated that the IATF allowed nurses and health workers with existing contracts as of March 8 along with those bearing overseas employment certificated (OEC) from the POEA to leave the country.
In another report by GMA News, Filipino Nurses United (FNU) expressed disagreement with some of the provisions of the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) Budget Circular 2020-4 which “supposedly downgraded the ranks of government nurses.”
Following its dialogue with DBM last September 1, FNU said the two unjust provisions of the circular frustrates them as the “job order (JO) and contract-of-service (COS) nurses were excluded from the Nurse I salary increase as they supposedly were not in an employee-employer relationship.”
“Secondly, the provision modifying the position attributes showed demotion in ranks from Nurse II to Nurse VII, where Nurse II will become Nurse I with SG15, while the Nurse III to Nurse VII positions were downgraded to a rank a step lower,” FNU added, noting they rejoiced upon the wage increase which will benefit Nurse 1 positions from salary grade (SG) 11 (₱22,316) to SG15 (₱32,053) retroactive January 1, 2020.