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Six years after saying nurses don’t need to have a nursing degree to work, Senator Cynthia Villar on Sunday (October 13) said those working in government deserve a pay raise.

In a radio interview, Villar said a higher pay will encourage more students to take up nursing in college. She noted there is currently a shortage of nurses in the country.

“We must encourage young people to take up nursing at mae-encourage natin sila kung well compensated sila sa trabaho,” she said.

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court upheld that the minimum base pay of entry-level government nurses should not be lower than salary grade 15, in keeping with Republic Act 9173.

Salary Grade 15 translates to P30,531, higher than the P19,233 they receive as salary grade 10 employees.

Villar drew flak as a senatorial candidate in 2013 when she insulted nurses in a televised forum before that year’s midterm polls.

“Actually, hindi naman kailangan ng nurse na matapos ang BSN (BS Nursing). Kasi itong mga nurses, gusto lang nilang maging room nurse,” she said.

Villar later apologized to the Philippine Nurses Association through a letter.

In the radio interview, she said nurses do valuable work, particularly in rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors.

“Very supportive tayo sa nurses dahil frontliners natin yan. In fact sa mga probinsya pag may kulang na mga doctors ang mga nurses natin ang pumapalit,” she said.

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