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MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Monday, December 6, approved the bill seeking to impose fixed terms for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief and other top military officers.
House Bill No. 10521 was approved with 184-6-0 votes. The bill also seeks to promote “the continuity of policies and modernization initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines” and remove the “revolving door” policy in the military.
Revolving door policy refers to the appointment of AFP chiefs to serve only for a short time – some even just months – or until their mandatory retirement. The policy has been practiced since the time of former president Corazon Aquino, and continued under President Rodrigo Duterte, who appointed his 11th AFP chief on November 12, Lieutenant General Andres Centino.
Duterte’s number of appointed military chiefs rivals the 11 AFP chiefs named by Gloria Arroyo in her nine years as commander-in-chief. Duterte appointed his 11th military chief in his fifth year in office. (READ: Quickie generals: The military’s revolving door needs to be shut)
Under the bill, the following military officers will have a tour of duty of three years upon appointment:
- Chief of Staff
- Vice Chief of Staff
- Deputy Chief of Staff
- Commanding General, Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force
- Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy
- Unified Command commanders
- Inspector General
The same bill also mandates military officers from the rank of vice chief of staff to inspector general to not have any other positions in the AFP after the tour of their duty, unless promoted as chief of staff. For the superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), a tour of duty of four years would be imposed.
After completing the four-year term, the PMA superintendent would be compulsorily retired, and would no longer be eligible for other AFP positions except the post of chief of staff. No military officer, who is more than 58 years old could be appointed as PMA head.
Based on the bill, the following military officers will be compulsory retired
- Second Lieutenant/ Ensign to Colonel/ Captain upon reaching the mandatory age of 56 or accumulation of 30 years of “satisfactory” duty, whichever comes later
- Brigadier General/ Commodore to Lieutenant General/ Vice Admiral upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 59
- Officers from the rank of chief of staff to inspector general, upon completing their fixed term regardless of age
The Senate version of the bill was already passed in September this year. – Rappler.com