The Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcomed Tuesday, May 17, the passage into law of a measure that seeks to provide a prescribed three-year fixed terms for military officials who are holding key positions.
Republic Act No. 11709, which was enacted by President Duterte on April 13, states that the a fixed tour of duty of three years will be imposed on the AFP Chief of Staff, Vice Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff.
It will also be applied to the positions held by the Commanding Generals of the Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine Air Force (PAF), Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy (PN), commanders of Unified Command, and Inspector General.
The law also mandates the retirement age of 56 years old or after 30 years of satisfactory active duty for Second Lieutenant to Colonel/Captain; 59 years old or maximum tenure-in-grade for Brigadier General/Commodore to Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral; 60 years old or after 20 years of satisfactory active duty for commissioned officers and appointees in the Corps of Professors; and 56 years old or at least 30 years of satisfactory active duty for enlisted personnel.
“The principal objective of this law is to allow general officers sufficient time, i.e., three years time-in-grade, to do their jobs. If they are not promoted to the next higher grade, they are retired,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
“This ensures that only the best officers ascend the ladder of leadership. This also puts an end to the revolving door system in the AFP leadership that resulted from the retirement law passed in 1979,” he added.
Further, the Defense chief said the new law limits the number of general officers to 0.01 percentum of the AFP’s total strength, and will reduce the number of its general officers from the present 196 to 153.
Lorenzana believes this is the “optimal number” of generals in the organization “to efficiently and competently lead the AFP.”
Meanwhile, General Andres Centino, AFP Chief of Staff, said the military organization is confident that the newly-signed law will “bring stability in the military organization as we continue to fulfil our mandate as protectors of the people and the state.”
“We are grateful for the support of the administration as well as the Senate and the House of Representatives in ensuring the continuity of our programs and operations,” Centino said in a statement.
“This shall make the AFP a more efficient and effective organization and will contribute to the realization of our vision of a more credible Armed Forces which is a source of national pride,” he added.
Both Lorenzana and Centino expressed gratitude to Duterte for the enactment of the new law which they said capped his vision and programs for the welfare of the AFP including higher pay, more troops, more brand new equipment, and improved health services for them.