MANILA, Philippines — Reappointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Andres Centino on Saturday called for unity among military personnel amid the implementation of a law that sets a fixed term for key military officials.
Speaking during the change of command ceremony held in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, Centino said military personnel should not be divided by Republic Act No. 11709.
“As we strive to put this law into effect, we as an organization cannot afford to remain, or, to be divided and squabbling on how its interpretation stands to benefit one over the other and lose focus on what is best for the armed forces as a whole,” Centino said in his speech.
Centino also said this law aims to “provide for the selection of the most competent, the most capable and the most deserving leaders.”
“Therefore to implement this law, the Armed Forces of the Philippines needs strong and determined leaders, capable of steering the organization in the direction of stabilizing unity and ushering in a truly modern and professional armed forces,” he also said.
Under RA 11709, military officials appointed to key positions will serve a fixed term of three years, except for the Philippine Military Academy superintendent, who will have a four-year tour of duty.
This law wants to put an end to the so-called revolving-door policy or the rapid succession of AFP chiefs who had to step down after serving for a short period upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Concerns were raised over the possibility of a significant number of officers facing attrition or reduction in numbers, especially among lieutenant colonels and colonels who occupy important posts, due to reduced “tenure-in-grades” of seven and eight years, respectively.
A tenure-in-grade is the maximum length of time that an officer needs to serve before being promoted.
The new law also limits the number of general officers from 196 to 153.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. reappointed Centino as AFP chief of staff, replacing Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, Malacañang announced on Friday.