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New law sets fixed maximum tenure for military officers

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has recently made a significant move in shaping the future of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by signing Republic Act No. 11939 into law. This landmark legislation passed on 17 May 2023, amends the AFP fixed-term code to promote professionalism, ensure policy continuity, and advance modernization initiatives within the military.

Under the law, specific fixed terms have been established for key positions within the AFP. The AFP Chief of Staff now has a maximum tour of duty set at three years, which can be terminated earlier by the President if deemed necessary. Similarly, the Chief of the Philippine Army, Chief of the Philippine Air Force, Chief of the Philippine Navy, and the Superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy will serve a maximum tour of duty of two years, subject to early termination by the President.

The new legislation also introduces compulsory retirement ages for AFP personnel. Those in the grades of Second Lieutenant/Ensign to Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral are now required to retire at the age of 57. For those commissioned under Presidential Decree No. 1908 and those appointed in the Corps of Officers, retirement will be mandatory at the age of 60.

Furthermore, Republic Act No. 11939 brings changes to the tenure-in-grade requirements for certain ranks within the AFP. The maximum tenure-in-grade for individuals with the rank of brigadier general or commodore, or higher, has been extended from three to five years. Similarly, the maximum tenure-in-grade for colonels and captains has been increased from eight to 10 years.

The law also establishes an officer grade distribution based on the AFP table of organization, which aligns with the AFP modernization program. This amendment adjusts the percentage for general or flag officers to 1.25% and designates 42.75% for first lieutenants, lieutenant junior grades, second lieutenants, and ensigns.

These amendments to the AFP fixed-term code and related provisions are set to profoundly impact the armed forces. By establishing clear terms of service for key positions, the law ensures a balance between stability and adaptability within military leadership. The compulsory retirement ages and changes in tenure-in-grade requirements aim to create a more dynamic environment, enabling the promotion of deserving officers while retaining valuable experience and expertise at higher ranks.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s signing of Republic Act No. 11939 reflects his commitment to modernizing and professionalizing the AFP. These amendments are expected to strengthen the armed forces, enhance policy continuity, and support ongoing modernization efforts, ultimately contributing to the defense and security of the Philippines. (AAP-CPSD)

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Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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