Flexible, not fixed term for AFP brass

‘For us, it is very unprecedented. We thank the board of generals for the diligent evaluation that they submitted on time on 13 January. And we also thank the President for facilitating the expeditious release of different designations and promotions’

Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

The Department of National Defense has recommended amending the terminology prescribing a “fixed term” for Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel under Republic Act 11709, replacing it with “extended tenure of service.”

Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the DND’s proposal would allow for a “lateral movement” in key positions in the AFP.

These key positions include the AFP chief-of-staff, vice chief-of-staff, deputy chief-of-staff, heads of the major AFP services such as the Army, Navy and Air Force, unified command commanders, and the inspector general.

“We will remove the term ‘fixed term,’ instead we will use the term ‘extend the tenure of service.’ Yun na ang gagamitin natin (that’s what we are going to use). We are pushing its adoption so that fixed terms won’t be absolute and the management of key officers will become flexible,” Galvez said in an ambush interview with reporters at DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Galvez emphasized the need to amend some provisions of RA 11709, also known as an Act Strengthening Professionalism in the AFP, which grants a mandatory three-year term of office to the key AFP officers unless sooner terminated by the President.

The law also states that the President may extend the tour of duty of the AFP chief-of-staff in time of war or other national emergencies declared by Congress.

“We need to immediately resolve the amendments to RA 11709 which gives a fixed tenure to around 14 key positions because we can see that it really restrains or clamps the AFP Senior Board of Officers and in order to place the best among the qualified officials in certain areas,” Galvez said.

Flexible, not absolute

By adopting the recommended terms to be used, Galvez said the career management of key AFP officers would become “flexible” and “not absolute.”

“We really see the bright side of this flexibility (as being) in order for the President to retain the power to remove officers in key positions (as they) are only there due to the trust and confidence of the President. At least, it won’t diminish (his power) if his trust and confidence in us are gone — he can immediately remove the officers without the restrictions of the law,” Galvez said, as he thanked the members of the Senate for supporting the defense sector’s recommendations.

Meanwhile, Galvez sees that pushing these amendments to RA 11709 would further boost the morale of personnel in the military organization.

He had previously said the “rumblings” in the AFP were merely over the issue of delayed promotions that were affected by some provisions of RA 11709.

Galvez noted that there are still pending promotions and designations to be filled, but President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has already signed “almost all” the documents of around 26 key officers lined up for promotions in the AFP ranks.

“For us, it is very unprecedented. We thank the board of generals for the diligent evaluation that they submitted on time on 13 January. And we also thank the President for facilitating the expeditious release of different designations and promotions,” Galvez said.

“The secretariat of our board of generals is now looking forward to those ensuing issues on the current vacancies being resolved.”


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