DND admits rumblings within military
MANILA, Philippines — There have been rumblings within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Tuesday.
Galvez made the statement during the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation hearing in response to the question of panel chairperson Jinggoy Estrada.
“Yes, kasi ‘yung effect, ‘yung unintended consequences ng ating retirement law, talagang it gravely affected the morale [of the military],” Galvez said, responding to the senator.
(Yes, because the effect or the unintended consequences of the retirement law gravely affected the morale of the military.)
According to Galvez, one issue is that when promotion and designation are delayed, time is running out for their retirement.
“Because when there is a delayed position, there is an ensuing vacancy,” he said.
The new defense chief, however, believes that they are addressing the problem.
He recalled that he discussed the concerns with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who then signed documents that Galvez hoped would address the concerns of the underclass.
Galvez eyes to normalize things on or before the end of the first quarter at the earliest.
The chief likewise said that measures seeking to amend Republic Act No. 11709 or the Strengthening Professionalism in the Armed Forces of the Philippines “will solve the lingering both short- and long-term effect of the law we have passed previously.”
“Ang ano lang naman ng ating mga officers is ‘yung sense of fairness and meritocracy and also ‘yung mabago po ‘yung law na really arbitrarily discriminate them from the competition,” Galvez said.
(Our officers want a sense of fairness and meritocracy and to change the law that arbitrarily discriminates them from the competition.)
Last week, Galvez denied any unrest in the military though he said some valid issues were being raised due to “some delays on promotion.”
Galvez explained the difference between unrest and grumblings when asked about it after the hearing in the Senate.
“Kung titingnan natin sa gravity kasi yung grumbling, ano yan e normal na talaga yan pagka merong tinatawag nating merong inefficiency and also some valid concerns. Yung unrest naman ang ibig sabihin hindi natin masabi kung merong coup o ano yan…” he said.
(If you look at the gravity, grumbling is normal if there is inefficiency and some valid concerns. When you say unrest, we can’t say if there’s a coup or what)
“I admit that there’s grumbling because nakikita natin maraming (we can see many are) affected especially yung Republic Act 11709, it affects 135,000 enlisted personnel,” he pointed out.
Under the said law, 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 duty.
It also aims to end the so-called revolving-door policy or the speedy succession of AFP leaders who had to mandatorily retire upon reaching 56. This will likewise reduce the number of general officers from 196 to 153.
But Congress moved to amend the law to limit its scope.
Under the House’s version of the amended law, the fixed three-term would only be limited to four key officials. The same proposal was also the subject of the hearing of Ejercito’s committee.
Once the amended law is passed, Galvez believes that the grumbling and “anxiety” of enlisted personnel will go away.
Earlier, AFP chief-of-staff General Andres Centino called for unity among military personnel amid the implementation of RA 11709.
AFP chief Centino calls for unity among military personnel over tenure law
Defense chief denies unrest, but admits 3-year term for officials may lead to stagnation, demoralization
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