A vital legislation

December 7, 2021 People's Tonight 260 views

THE House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a proposed landmark legislation aimed at “strengthening the merit system” in the military.

This it will do by eliminating the “revolving door” accommodation promotions and creating a new culture of excellence in leadership and accountability in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Specifically, the proposed measure – House Bill (HB) 10521 – seeks to impose a fixed term of three years for ranking military officials, particularly the AFP chief of staff.

Among other things, the legislation likewise aims to “refine and improve the rules on retirement and commissionship” in the country’s military service.

Under HB 10521, the chief of staff, vice chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, and the army, navy and air force commanding generals will have a fixed tour of duty of three years.

The military inspector general will also have a three-year fixed term of office, according to the proposed measure.

“Kapag naging batas ang bill na ito ay maiiwasan na ang sitwasyong papalitan ang hepe ng AFP pagkatapos lamang ng tatlo o apat na buwan sa puwesto dahil magre-retiro na siya,” said an observer.

In the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP), officers and men compulsory retire upon reaching the age of 56.

However, the proposed measure said the fixed term of duty could be terminated or extended by the President of the Philippines in times of war or national emergency.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of hastening the passage of HB 10521.

With just more than six months before the successor of President Duterte assumes office, the House of Representatives is on the right track in approving the bill on final reading.