President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law fixing the term of key officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and increasing the mandatory retirement age of generals and flag officers.
Republic Act No. 11709 provides the following positions in the AFP, upon appointment, a fixed tour of duty of three years: Chief of Staff, Vice Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Commanding Generals of the Philippine Army and Air Force, Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, Unified Command Commanders and the Inspector General.
Their tour duty starts the date of appointment is signed and shall be for three consecutive years unless sooner terminated by the President.
The AFP Chief of Staff’s tour of duty shall not exceed three years unless the President extends it in times of war or other national emergency declared by Congress.
The ages or years of servicefor compulsory retirement were also adjusted, and provided that officers and enlisted personnel shall be retired one rank higher than the last rank held.
The newly signed law effectively ends the “revolving door policy” in the AFP leadership and give its appointed leaders ample time to actually implement programs or much-needed reforms instead of absurdly brief stays in office.
According to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, “The revolving door policy has always been a disservice to the mandates of the military leadership entrusted with the security and defense of the country.”
Now that the law has been passed, the next president should get to name only two AFP Chief of Staff throughout their term. That will be a huge difference compared to the eleven Mr. Duterte will have appointed throughout his term, with one serving for only 102 days or less than 4 months.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines deserves quality leaders that are committed to improving the organization that is responsible for the security and defense of the country. The revolving door policy has denied the AFP this privilege and only benefited the high-ranking officers and their patrons who use it for self-serving purposes.
Now that the revolving door has been removed, there is a great opportunity for the country’s next president and AFP chief to embark on a long-term plan to make the organization better for the country.*