Solons propose changes to law setting fixed term, retirement age for some military posts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — House Speaker Martin Romualdez and other lawmakers have filed a bill proposing changes to the law that sets a fixed term and retirement age of some officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

House Bill No. 6482, which was co-authored by Romualdez and Representatives Raul Tupas, Mercedes Alvarez, Divina Grace Yu and Jorge Bustos, seeks to amend Republic Act No. 11709 signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in April.

The proposed measure aims to limit the three-year fixed term—unless sooner terminated by the president—to just four officers: AFP chief-of-staff, commanding generals of the Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force, and flag-officer-in-command of the Philippine Navy.

Although excluded from the three-year tenure, “lateral movement” will be allowed for the posts of vice chief-of-staff, deputy chief-of-staff, unified command commanders, and inspector general.

The bill also provides that no officer, except for the chief-of-staff, shall be designated to key positions or promoted to the rank of brigadier general/commodore or higher if he has less than six months of active service remaining before retirement.

RA 11709, which took effect in July, aims to put an end to the “revolving door” policy in the appointment of the AFP chief-of-staff.

The lawmakers, however, said military personnel raised important issues about the law.

“After the passage into law of Republic Act No. 11709, a significant number of proposals and recommendations from officers and enlisted personnel were made to amend some provisions in order to make it more responsive to the needs, peculiar situation, organizational culture and human resource development of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the bill read.

The proposed measure also wants to fix the compulsory retirement age at 57 for those with the rank of brigadier general/commodore, 58 for those with the rank of major general/rear admiral, and 59 for those with the rank of lieutenant general/vice admiral.

The lawmakers said the bill will also allow longer period to implement reforms in the AFP.