By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA – The new law that amended some parts of the law prescribing fixed terms for key positions in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will further professionalize the institution, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Friday.
“The DND welcomes the signing of RA No. 11939, which will further strengthen the professionalism in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and amend certain provisions of RA 11709. RA 11939 reflects our efforts to ensure continuity in policies and programs, while also strengthening meritocracy in the military,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
He added that the DND is grateful for the support and consideration of the Commander in Chief, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for the welfare and betterment of the AFP.
“As the AFP is a very dynamic organization, RA 11939 aims to prevent stagnation in the promotion cycle and address the attendant reported demoralization among our military officers stemming from the previous law,” Andolong said.
He added that the DND is also thankful to lawmakers led by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, House Committee on National Defense chairperson Rep. Raul Tupas; and Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation chair Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, for their support in its pursuit of an AFP that is more effective and responsive to the needs of the nation.
RA 11939 amends the tour of duty for key military officials, with only the AFP chief of staff having a maximum tour of duty for three years, unless sooner terminated by the President.
The commanding generals of the Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force, the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, and the superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy will have a maximum tour of duty of two years, unless sooner terminated, with no one-year prohibition for promotion.
These officials will not be eligible for any position in the AFP unless promoted to chief of staff. The maximum tenure-in-grade for officers also increased under the new law.
Officers with the rank of brigadier general/commodore may hold their positions for five years instead of three years, and 10 years for colonel/captain for the Navy instead of eight years.
“RA 11939 puts in place a one-year prohibition for promotion to the rank of brigadier general or higher, except for the aforementioned key positions. Meanwhile, RA 11939 stipulates that the number of generals in the AFP will be 1.25 percent of total officer strength under the AFP Table of Organization,” Andolong said.
RA 11939 likewise increases the compulsory retirement age for officers, from 56 years old to 57, or upon accumulation of 30 years of satisfactory active duty, whichever comes later.
Compulsory retirement for those commissioned under Presidential Decree No. 1908, and those appointed in the Corps of Professors will be upon reaching 60 years old or completion of 20 years of satisfactory active duty, whichever comes later.
The law repeals the provision of RA 11709 for forced attrition of enlisted personnel, with matters concerning enlisted personnel to be governed by AFP issuances under the new law.
“The DND hopes the new law, approved and signed on 17 May 2023, will address the concerns of the men and women of the AFP. A technical working group to develop the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11939 has been convened, with the draft to be finalized by the Department as required by the law,” Andolong said. (PNA)