PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act (RA) 11709, which determines a fixed term of duty for top military officials, as well as the retirement age for soldiers depending on their rank.

Under the law, which was signed by Duterte on April 13, 2022, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff; Vice Chief of Staff; the Deputy Chief of Staff; the commanding generals of the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy; Unified Command Commanders and the Inspector General will have a fixed term of three years regardless of their age.

“The tour of duty of the aforementioned officers shall commence on the date the appointment is signed and shall be for three consecutive years unless sooner terminated by the President,” the law states.

Prior to the passage of the law, military officials are bound to retire at the age of 56 regardless of their rank.

The law also states that only officials with the rank of Lieutenant General or Vice Admiral and not more than 58 years old can be appointed as the superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and will be given a tour of duty of four years unless terminated by higher authority.

The law also raises the retirement of officials in the ranks of Brigadier General or Commodore to Lieutenant General or Vice Admiral to 59-year-old.

Those appointed in the Corps of Professors can also retire upon reaching the age of 60 or the completion of 20 years of service.

“Upon accumulation of at least 20 years of satisfactory active duty, an officer or enlisted personnel may request to be retired from military service, subject to the approval of either the President, the Secretary of National Defense or the AFP chief of staff or Major Service Commander as appropriate, as provided for in the rules and regulations to be issued to implement this act,” RA 11709 reads.

For the Second Lieutenant/Ensign (O-1) to Colonel/Captain (O-6) and enlisted personnel, retirement will be upon reaching the age of 56 or after 30 years of satisfactory active duty.

Officers and enlisted personnel shall be retired one rank higher from the last rank held and the monthly benefits will be based on the permanent grade last held.

AFP spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala said they welcome the approval of the law, noting that it will bring stability in the military organization.

“We are grateful for the support of the administration, as well as the Senate and the House of Representatives in ensuring the continuity of our programs and operations,” he said in a statement.

“This shall make the AFP a more efficient and effective organization and will contribute to the realization of our vision of a more credible Armed Forces which is a source of national pride,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)