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Rep. Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, First District) has credited the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. with giving more value to nurses — the nation’s second-largest group of professionals after teachers, a press release from his office said.

“We laud PhilHealth under its chairperson, Secretary of Health Enrique Ona, and president, Dr. Eduardo Banzon, for bestowing greater merit to our nurses,” Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas, a member of the bicameral Commission on Appointments, said.

Gullas was responding to PhilHealth’s plan to engage registered nurses at a monthly salary of roughly P15,000.

“While P15,000 is not exceptionally large, it is nonetheless much higher than the P10,000 monthly stipend offered by the RN for Health Enhancement and Local Service, or RN Heals,” Gullas said.

RN Heals is a national government project that deploys nurses to the provinces to reinforce the staff of public hospitals, and provide extra health care services to depressed communities, the press release said.

The nurses being enlisted and trained separately by PhilHealth would be deployed starting March.

They would form part of PhilHealth’s Customer Assistance, Relations and Empowerment Staff, the press release said.

They are expected to provide “personalized customer care” to PhilHealth members and dependents at point-of-service — in hospitals where they seek treatment.

The Nursing Law of 2002, or Republic Act 9173,sets the minimum pay of government nurses at Salary Grade 15.

This corresponds to a monthly rate of at least P22,688. However, due to lack of funds, government has not put this provision of the law into action, the press release said.

The country’s large oversupply of nurses has contributed to the downward pressure on their wages, according to labor market analysts.

The Professional Regulation Commission estimates at 300,000 the country’s unemployed nurses.

Educators, labor leaders and even health officials have been urging incoming college students to avoid taking up nursing, amid the huge surplus of practitioners, the press release said.*

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