Marcos OKs law amending fixed terms in AFP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed the law amending the measure that provides fixed terms for ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Approved on May 17 but released to the media on Wednesday, Republic Act No 11939 amends Republic Act No 11709, which former President Rodrigo Duterte approved in April 2022. RA 11709 sets a fixed term for key military positions.

But under RA 11939, the chief of staff of the AFP would only have a maximum tour of duty of three consecutive years unless sooner terminated by the president.

The following officers, meanwhile, would get a maximum tour of duty of two consecutive years, unless earlier terminated:

— Commanding General, Philippine Army

— Commanding General, Philippine Air Force

— Flag Officer In Command, Philippine Navy

— Superintendent, Philippine Military Academy

The new law also states that the officers holding the abovementioned positions would not be eligible for any post in the AFP unless promoted to chief of staff.

Retirement is also compulsory for officers in the grades of second lieutenant/ensign to lieutenant general/vice admiral when they reach the age of 57 years old or after their 30 years of active duty.

Lawmakers pushed for the amendment to appease “grumblings” in the AFP.

Defense department office-in-charge Carlito Galvez Jr. admitted last January that there were grumblings over the AFP fixed term law as it could halt the promotion of thousands of enlisted personnel, affecting the morale of soldiers.

READ: Galvez admits 'grumblings' within AFP over fixed term law

In a statement, the AFP welcomed the signing of the new law.

"We believe that the changes will further strengthen professionalism in the military and ensure the continuity of programs while maintaining the AFP's dynamic and progressive promotion system," AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said.

Aguilar added that the approval of the new law provided the "much-needed amendments" to RA 11709.