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Bill limiting coverage of fixed terms in AFP now up for Marcos’ signature

The bill seeking to limit the coverage of the fixed terms in the Armed Forces of the Philippines is now up for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s signature.

This, after the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified Wednesday the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 1849 and House Bill 6517.

According to Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who led the Senate contingent in the bicameral conference panel as chairman of the Senate committee on national defense, the contingents of the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to the following:

  • AFP chief of staff shall have a maximum tour of duty of three years unless sooner terminated by the President
  • Commanding generals of the Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force, flag officer in command of the Philippine Navy, and superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy shall have a maximum tour of duty of two years
  • For an officer to be eligible for appointment or promotion to the grade of brigadier general/commodore or higher, he or she must have at least one year remaining of active service before compulsory retirement, except for positions with maximum tour of duty.

The bicam contingents also agreed to set the compulsory retirement age at 57 years old or accumulation of 30 years of satisfactory active service, whichever is later.

Chief of staff and key officers with tour of duty shall retire upon completion of tour of duty or upon relief by the President.

The bill intends to amend Republic Act 11709 which grants three-year fixed term for key AFP officials, including the chief of staff.

The law which seeks to prevent the "revolving door policy" in the AFP was signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte months before he stepped down from office.

But RA 11709 had "unintended consequences" which resulted in "rumblings" within the military ranks, according to Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez. Jr.

Last December, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. certified House Bill 6517, which seeks to amend RA 11709, as urgent.—AOL, GMA Integrated News