AFP morale remains 'high' despite promotion delays, says Galvez

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2023 03:15 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2023 04:17 PM

Department of National Defence Secretary Carlito Galvez JR (L) and Armed Forces of the Philippines General Andres Centino (R) during a press conference at officers' country hall in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Jan. 12, 2023. ABS-CBN News 
Department of National Defence Secretary Carlito Galvez JR (L) and Armed Forces of the Philippines General Andres Centino (R) during a press conference at officers' country hall in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Jan. 12, 2023. Maria Tan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The morale of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remained high despite the delays in the promotions and designations of some of its officers, Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Monday.

Galvez said the issue had been addressed over a week ago when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed "almost all" pending promotions before leaving for Davos, Switzerland to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“May mga pending designations and we are very happy that the President before going to Davos signed almost all the papers... more or less 26 key officers, including 3 lieutenant generals and also more or less 6 major generals and 17 general officers. Sa amin talaga, very unprecedented ‘yun and we really thank the Board of Generals, headed by Gen. Faustino, for their very diligent evaluation and he submitted it on time,” Galvez said. 

(There were pending designations and we are very happy that the President before going to Davos signed almost all the papers. For us, that was very unprecedented.)

“Sa ngayon, nakita namin na high morale na ang AFP,” he told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.

(We saw that the AFP's morale is now high.)

The defense chief said he hoped to iron out the remaining issues that caused the delays.

“Ang cause of delay nito is because nagkaroon tayo ng transition kasi sa election ban sa promotion and during the transition of the Marcos administration,” Galvez said. 

“I think we have already resolved this, kaya ngayon ang ating secretariat ng Board of Generals, they are now looking forward na ang ensuing vacancies now ay ma-resolve na rin.”

(The cause of delay here is because we had a transition due to the election ban on promotion and during the transition of the Marcos administration. The secretariat of our Board of Generals is now looking forward so that ensuing vacancies will also be resolved.)

‘EXTENDED TENURE OF SERVICE’

Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense (DND) has urged the Senate to remove the fixed terms for AFP key officials.

Instead of a fixed term, senior officials should have an "extended tenure of service," with the President deciding on the length of these terms, Galvez said.

“There is no such thing as a fixed term pag ma-adopt ‘yun para at least hindi maging absolute, [kundi] magiging flexible ang career management ng ating officers,” he added.

“Nakikita natin na maganda ang magiging flexibility because it will not tie up or diminish ang powers ng presidente to remove officers,” he added. “If the trust and confidence of the president has been removed sa isang lider, he can immediately replace without the restrictions of the law.”

(There is no such thing as a fixed term if that is adopted so that the career management of our officers will not be absolute and will instead be flexible. Flexibility is good because it will not tie up or diminish ang powers ng presidente to remove officers. If the trust and confidence of the president in a leader has been removed, he can immediately replace without the restrictions of the law.) 

Galvez said the Senate has expressed support for the recommendation.

“We are thankful that the Senate, headed by our Senate President, made a statement that they will support our recommendation,” he added.

Republic Act No. 11709, or the Act Strengthening Professionalism in the AFP, grants a 3-year fixed term for key military officials, including the chief of staff, vice chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, unified command commanders and inspector general “unless sooner terminated by the President.”

On Tuesday, Galvez admitted during a Senate hearing that there were “rumblings” within the military due to the “unintended consequences” of the law, which could derail the promotion of some personnel. 

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