President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has signed into law a measure seeking to strengthen professionalism in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which include amended provisions on the tour of duty and appointment of key military officers.
Marcos signed on May 17, 2023 Republic Act No. 11939, or An Act Further Strengthening Professionalism and Promoting the Continuity of Policies and Modernization Initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Amending for this Purpose Republic Act No. 11709.
Marcos' predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, signed Republic Act No. 11709 in May of last year.
Under the new law, the following officials holding key positions in the AFP shall have a maximum tour of duty of two consecutive years, which shall commence on the date the appointment is signed, unless sooner terminated by the President:
- Commanding General, Philippine Army;
- Commanding General, Philippine Air Force;
- Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy; and
- Superintendent, Philippine Military Academy
These officials shall not be eligible for any position in the AFP unless promoted to the position of Chief of Staff.
In the law signed by Duterte, chiefs of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force were given a fixed three-year term while the PMA superintendent was given a tour of duty of four years.
Meanwhile, the AFP chief of staff will still have a maximum tour of duty of three consecutive years, which shall commence on the date the appointment is signed, unless sooner terminated by the President, under the new law.
In the compulsory retirement for military personnel, the following officers shall be compulsory retired:
- Those in the grades of second lieutenant/ensign (O-1) to Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral (O-9), upon reaching the age of 57-years-old or upon accumulation of 30 years of satisfactory active duty, whichever comes later;
- The chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under Section 2 (a) of this Act, upon completion of the tour of duty or upon relief by the President;
- Those occupying a key position under Section 2 (b) of this Act, upon completion of the tour of duty, or upon relief by the President; and
- Those commissioned under Presidential Decree No. 1908, and those appointed in the Corps of Professors upon reaching the age of 60-years-old or completion of 20 years of satisfactory active duty, whichever comes later.
The new law also mandates that an enlisted personnel shall be compulsory retired upon accumulation of at least 30 years of satisfactory active duty or upon reaching the age of 57-years-old, whichever comes later.
Meanwhile, it also states the maximum tenure of officers in the grades of general/flag officer in the AFP:
- General/Admiral (O-10) - 3 years
- Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral (O-9) - 3 years
- Major General/Rear Admiral (O-8) - 3 years
- Brigadier General/Commodore (O-7) - 5 years
Further, the maximum tenure of officers in the grades of colonel, lieutenant colonel, major and captain are hereby prescribed as follows:
- Colonel/Captain (PN) (O-6) - 10 years
- Lieutenant Colonel/Commander (PN) (O-5) - 7 years
- Major/Lieutenant Commander (PN) (O-4) - 6 years
- Captain/Lieutenant (PN) (O-3) - 6 years
The provisions of this Act shall also apply to the officers and enlisted personnel appointed and/or promoted under RA No. 11709 as well as other pertinent laws.
The Department of National Defense is tasked to formulate the necessary rules and regulations of this newly-signed law.
For its part, the AFP welcomed the signing of the law, saying that it will further enhance professionalism in the military organization.
"The AFP welcomes President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's approval of RA 11939 which provides the much-needed amendments to RA 11709," said military spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar in a statement.
"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," he added. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News