Metro Manila, Philippines — Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said more than anything else, the “rumblings” within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are just feelings of “tampo” from soldiers who are unhappy over the new law on fixed three-year terms for top officials.
The Department of National Defense (DND) clarified this in a statement on Friday, three days after Galvez admitted in a Senate hearing that there are rumblings within the military.
“We are listening to the concerns of our men and women in the AFP, who are understandably anxious over the perceived uncertainty in their careers under the new law,” the DND quoted Galvez as saying.
Republic Act No. 11709, or the Act Strengthening Professionalism in the AFP, which took effect in July last year, aims to put a stop to the “revolving door policy” in which military chiefs serve for only a few months before their mandatory retirement.
However, Galvez said it has affected the morale of some soldiers as the law could also derail the promotion of about 135,000 enlisted personnel.
He said those who may be affected are officers from the rank of private to first chief master sergeant.
Amid the dissatisfaction, the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security conducted a hearing on Tuesday on the proposed amendments to RA 11709.
The AFP suggested modifying the law so only the chief of staff will have a maximum tour of duty of three years, while the commanding generals of the Army and Air Force, as well as the flag officer in command of the Navy, can stay for two years.
“The DND’s proposed amendments to RA 11709 aim to further enhance the professionalism and efficiency of the AFP,” Galvez said.
“The issues surrounding the law are being threshed out collaboratively between the DND and the AFP,” he also said
The official added that despite concerns over the legislation, “the AFP remains faithful to our Constitution, people, and the flag, and our officers and men are continuing to fulfill their mandate of protecting our nation.”
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