Brawner, 29 military officers get CA nod

(PHILSTAR) MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Appointments (CA) has confirmed the ad interim appointment of Gen. Romeo Brawner, the first chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who will have a fixed term of three years in office.

Brawner will serve until 2026.

While Brawner’s confirmation process lasted more than three hours, the deliberation was smooth as he answered all the questions of the CA members on controversial issues, including the territorial dispute at the West Philippine Sea, military and uniformed personnel (MUP) pension funds, revolving door policy in the AFP and the government’s anti-insurgency efforts.

Aside from Brawner, the CA also confirmed the ad interim appointments of 29 military generals and senior officers.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Brawner, who served as spokesman of the AFP, is one of the most bemedalled officers in his generation.

During the deliberation, Zubiri reiterated the importance of solving the insurgency problem to ensure the progress and prosperity of communities.

He said the anti-insurgency programs of the government have been winning the hearts and minds of residents in far-flung barangays.

MUP pension

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada asked Brawner about his stance on the proposed MUP pension reform bill.

Brawner said the soldiers are always willing to sacrifice a portion of their pay for the country’s benefit.

He said the Department of National Defense has developed a plan that would enable the AFP to generate pension funds, including utilizing available real estate assets.

Despite the soldiers’ salary increase, Brawner said the planned nine percent target contribution for their pensions would be a burden to them due to the high cost of living, high power rates and rising prices of basic commodities, including rice.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked Brawner about his plans to accomplish his objectives of military modernization.

Brawner said the AFP and its doctrines will have to adjust to the advent of new technology in warfare.

‘‘For instance, because of the missile systems, which will be used to defend our territory from external aggression, we need to create units that are capable of handling these modern weapons.”

Brawner said there is also a need to focus on the creation of Cyber Command, noting this was tackled during a recent conference of chiefs of defense attended by 24 countries.

“One of the emphasis that was given in that conference is the importance of the cyber domain. At present, we only have land, water or air domain, but we also have the cyber domain,” Brawner said.