Armed Forces of the Philippines

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP; Filipino: Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas; Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Filipinas) are the military forces of the Philippines. It consists of the three main service branches; the Army, the Navy (including the Marine Corps) and the Air Force. The President of the Philippines is the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP and forms military policy with the Department of National Defense, an executive department acting as the principal organ by which military policy is carried out, while the Chief of Staff is the overall commander and the highest-ranking officer in the AFP. A previous attached branch is the defunct Philippine Constabulary (which is merged with the Integrated National Police to form the Philippine National Police), while the Philippine Coast Guard is a wartime attached service. Military service is entirely voluntary.[6]

Armed Forces of the Philippines
Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas
Fuerzas Armadas de Filipinas
Flag of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Flag of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Seal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Emblem of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
FoundedDecember 21, 1935
Service branches Philippine Army
 Philippine Air Force
Philippine Navy
  Philippine Marine Corps
HeadquartersCamp Aguinaldo, Quezon City
Websitehttp://www.afp.mil.ph/
Leadership
Commander-in-Chief President Rodrigo Duterte
Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana
Chief of StaffGen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., AFP
Manpower
Military age18–56 years old
ConscriptionNone enforced, optional through ROTC
Available for
military service
25,614,135 (2010 est.)[1] males, age 15–49,
25,035,061 (2010 est.)[1] females, age 15–49
Fit for
military service
20,142,940 (2010 est.)[2] males, age 15–49,
2,427,792 (2010 est.)[2] females, age 15–49
Active personnel171,500 (2018)[3]
Reserve personnel385,116 (2018)[4]
Expenditures
Budget$5.6 billion/₱290 billion (2018)[5]
Percent of GDP0.75%
Industry
Domestic suppliersGovernment Arsenal
Steelcraft Industrial and Development Corp.
Ferfrans
Armscor
Joavi Philippines Corp.
Foreign suppliers United States
 European Union
 Russia
 China
 Brazil
 United Kingdom
 France
 Germany
 South Korea
 Republic of China
 Israel
 United Arab Emirates
 Serbia
 Singapore
 Spain
 Sweden
 Australia
 Canada
 Japan
Related articles
History

Leadership

AFP Chain of Command

Position Photograph Name Service
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP) AFP chief Benjamin Madrigal General Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr. [7] Philippine Army
Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (VCSAFP) Lieutenant General Salvador Melchor B. Mison Jr. [8] Philippine Air Force
The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (TDCSAFP) Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr. [9] Philippine Navy
Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CG-PA) Lt. Gen. Macairog Sabiniano Alberto AFP Lieutenant General Macairog S. Alberto [10] Philippine Army
Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy (FOIC-PN) Vice Admiral Robert A. Empedrad[11] Philippine Navy
Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force (CG-PAF) Lieutenant General Rozzano D. Briguez [12] [13] Philippine Air Force
Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps (CMDT-PMC) Major General Alvin A. Parreño [14] Philippine Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (SMAFP) First chief master sergeant Lito A. Tompayogan [15] Philippine Army

History

Pre-Hispanic Philippines maintained local militia groups under the barangay system. Reporting to the datu, these groups, aside from maintaining order in their communities, also served as their defense forces. With the arrival of Islam, the system of defense forces in the Mindanao region's sultanates under Muslim control mirrored those other existing sultanates in the region. These local warriors who were in the service of the Sultan were also responsible to qualified male citizens appointed by him.

During the Spanish colonial period, the Spanish Army was responsible for the defense and general order of the archipelago in the land, while the Spanish Navy conducts maritime policing in the seas as well as providing naval logistics to the Army. The Guardia Civil took police duties and maintaining public order in villages and towns. In the early years of Spanish colonial era, most of the formations of the army were composed of conquistadors backed with native auxiliaries. By the 18th and 19th Centuries, line infantry and cavalry formations were created composed of mixed Spanish and Filipino personnel, as well as volunteer battalions composed of all-Filipino volunteers during the later half of the 19th Century. Units from other colonies were also levied to augment the existing formations in the Philippines. Almost all of the formations of the Spanish Army in the archipelago participated in the local religious uprisings between 17th and 19th Centuries, and in the Philippine Revolution in 1896 fighting against the revolutionary forces. At the peak of the revolution, some Filipinos and a few Spaniards in the Spanish Army, Guardia Civil, and Navy defected to the Revolutionary Army.

The Spanish cession of the Philippines in the 1898 Treaty of Paris put the independence of the newly declared Southeast Asian republic in grave danger. The revolutionaries were fighting desperately as the American forces already landed in other islands and had taken over towns and villages. The Americans established the Philippine Constabulary in 1901 manned by Filipino fighters and used against Gen. Aguinaldo who was later captured.

On April 9, 2002, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo proclaimed that the Philippine–American War had ended on April 16, 1902 with the surrender of General Miguel Malvar.[16]

Since the beginning of American rule in the Philippines, the United States Army had taken the responsibility for the defense of the country in the land, and the United States Navy in the seas until the passage of the National Defense Act of 1935 which called for a separate defense force for the Philippines.

Creation and World War II

In accordance with the National Defense Act of 1935, the Armed Forces of the Philippines was officially established on December 21, 1935, when the act entered into force.[17] Retired U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was asked to supervise its foundation and training. MacArthur accepted the offer and became a Field Marshal of the Philippines, a rank no other person has since held.[18] Jean MacArthur, his wife, found the situation amusing and remarked that her husband had gone from holding the highest rank in the United States Army to holding the highest rank in a non-existent army. President Quezon officially conferred the title of Field Marshal on MacArthur in a ceremony at Malacañan Palace on August 24, 1936 when he appeared with a gold marshal's baton and a unique uniform.[19]

The Army of the Philippines included naval and air assets directly reporting to Army headquarters, and the Philippine Constabulary, later part of the ground forces proper as a division. In 1938 the Constabulary Division was separated from the army and reorganized into a national police force.[20][21]

MacArthur expanded the Army of the Philippines with the revival of the Navy in 1940 and the formation of the Philippine Army Air Corps (formerly the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps), but they were not ready for combat at the start of the Pacific War in December 1941 and unable to defeat the 1941–42 Japanese invasion of the Philippines.

In 1940-41, most soldiers of the Philippine military were incorporated in the U.S. Army Forces Far East (USAFFE), with MacArthur appointed as its commander. USAFFE made its last stand on Corregidor Island, after which Japanese forces were able to force all remaining Filipino and American troops to surrender. The establishment of the general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army are military station went to the province during occupation. Those who survived the invasion but escaped from the Japanese formed the basis of recognized guerrilla units and ongoing local military force of the Philippine Commonwealth Army that continued the fighting against the enemy all over the islands. The Philippine Constabulary went on active service under the Armed Forces of the Philippines during liberation. After Japan was defeated in World War II, the Philippines gained its independence in 1946. (This was its second independence after the Philippine Declaration of Independence in 1898). In 1947 the modern AFP first emerged with the upgrade of the PAAC to the Philippine Air Force.

After independence

During the Korean War from 1951 to 1953, the Philippines sent various AFP battalions, known as the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) to fight as part of the US-led United Nations Command in liberating South Korea from the invading North Korean troops. At the same time the armed forces, including the established Marine company under the PN, fought against Communist elements of the Hukbalahap (by then the Bagong Hukbong Bayan, the Philippine counterpart of the PLA) in Central Luzon, two Southern Tagalog provinces and several Visayan provinces, with great successes.

In 1966, an AFP battalion was also sent into South Vietnam during the Vietnam War to ameliorate the economic and social conditions of its people there. AFP units were also sent at the same time to the Spratly Islands.

1963 would see the first women join the ranks of the armed forces with the raising of the Women's Auxiliary Corps.

Upon the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, then-President Ferdinand Marcos used the AFP, through the regime's secret police force, the National Intelligence and Security Authority, to arrest,and to contain communists for national security. Marcos - as Commander in Chief - did modernization efforts for the AFP by instituting a series of self-reliance programs to enable it to construct its own weapons, warplanes, tanks, ships and planes locally instead of buying from foreign sources. It was a period when the AFP is technically advance compared to its neighbors. A missile development program known as the "Sta. Barbara project" was initiated by the AFP and soon it had its own missiles and the AFP itself was undergoing an expansion program too, partly due to a national service program started in the late 1970s. Sadly, everything was back to stone age after 1986 so-called People Power Revolution and after they ousted Marcos.

In 1981, when Marcos' trusted military officer, General Fabian Ver became the AFP chief of staff, favoritism was believed to be attached to the military organization due to the fact that the general only placed his favorites in most sensitive positions, it did not dismay qualified officers. Marcos would like to make sure who is fit for the job. Ver and Marcos also extended the tour of duty of those military officers who should have been effectively retired, to the dismay also of the younger officers. Consequently, discontent in the AFP ensued.

The AFP also at that time, waged a military campaign against the secessionist Moro National Liberation Front in the island of Mindanao and New People's Army units under the Communist Party of the Philippines nationwide, growing to a 200,000 strong force.

In 1986, a faction of AFP headed by then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP vice-chief of staff Lt. General Fidel V. Ramos took a stand against Marcos, ushering in the bloodless People Power Revolution that removed Marcos from power and installed Corazon Aquino as the new president of the Philippines.

During Aquino's term, most of the military units remained loyal to her as she dealt with various coup attempts against her by other military factions that remained loyal to the former dictator and those military officers who helped her to assume power. The 1989 coup attempt, the bloodiest of all coup attempts against her was crushed with US help. The AFP, during her term also launched a massive campaign against the CPP-NPA after a brief hiatus and also against the MNLF in the south.

In 1991, the major services of the AFP was reduced from four to three, when the Philippine Constabulary or PC, an AFP major service tasked to enforce the law and to curb criminality, was formally merged with the country's Integrated National Police, a national police force on the cities and municipalities in the country attached to the PC to become the Philippine National Police, thus removing it from AFP control and it was civilianized by a law passed by Congress, therefore becoming under the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a result.

In 2000, then President Joseph Estrada ordered the AFP to launch an "All-Out war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a breakaway group of the MNLF that wants to proclaim Mindanao an independent state.

In 2001, Estrada was removed from power in the two-day Edsa Dos People Power revolt, in which the AFP played a key role. The revolution installed then Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as president.

Since 2001, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been active in supporting the War on terror and has been attacking terrorist groups in Mindanao ever since. In 2012, the AFP Chief of Staff said that there had been no increase in the number of soldiers over a long period, and that the military aimed to hire 30,000 troops in three years.[22]

In 2013, the AFP managed to stall the attacks of the Moro National Liberation Front in the Zamboanga City crisis as they launch an attack to proclaim the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik. On 2016, the AFP clashed with the Maute group on Butig on February and on November of 2016. In 2017, The AFP also clashed with ISIS Militants in Marawi, calling President Duterte to declare Martial Law under Proclamation 216.

Modernization

Republic Act No. 7898, approved on February 23, 1995, declared it the policy of the State to modernize the AFP to a level where it can effectively and fully perform its constitutional mandate to uphold the sovereignty and preserve the patrimony of the Republic of the Philippines, and mandated specific actions to be taken to achieve this end.[23] Republic Act No. 10349, approved on December 11, 2012, amended RA7898 to establish a revised AFP modernization program.[24] The act include new provision for the acquisition of equipment for all the branches of AFP.

Organization and branches

The 1987 Philippine Constitution placed the AFP under the control of a civilian, the President of the Philippines, who acts as its Commander-in-Chief. All of its branches are part of the Department of National Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of National Defense.

The AFP has three major services:[25]

These three major services are unified under a Chief of Staff who normally holds the rank of General/Admiral. He is assisted by The Vice Chief of Staff, and The Deputy Chief of Staff, normally holding the rank of Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral. Each of the three major branches are headed by an officer with the following titles: Commanding General of the Philippine Army (Lieutenant General), Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy (Vice Admiral), and Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force (Lieutenant General), as well as the AFP Inspector General (Lieutenant General). Meanwhile, the following office holders carry the rank of Major General/Rear Admiral: The Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, The Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, J1, The Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, J2, The Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Organization & Training, J3, The Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, J4, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, J5, The Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, Electronics and Information Systems Service, J6, The Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations, J7, The Deputy Chief of Staff for Education and Training, J8, and The Deputy Chief of Staff for Retirees and Reservists Affairs, J9.

Former branches

The Philippine Constabulary (PC) was a gendarmerie type para-military police force of the Philippines established in 1901 by the United States-appointed administrative authority, replacing the Guardia Civil of the Spanish colonial regime. On December 13, 1990, Republic Act No. 6975 was approved, organizing the Philippine National Police (PNP) consisting of the members of the Integrated National Police (INP) and the officers and enlisted personnel of the PC. Upon the effectivity of that Act, the PC ceased to be a major service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the INP ceased to be the national police and civil defense force.[26] On January 29, 1991, the PC and the INP were formally retired and the PNP was activated in their place.[27]

Unified commands

Units from these three services may be assigned to one of several "Unified Commands", which are multi-service, regional entities:[28]

Former Unified & Wide Support Commands

AFP-wide support and affiliate units

Several service-wide support services and separate units report directly to the AFP General Headquarters (AFP GHQ), these include:

Philippine Defense Reform

Philippine Defense Reform Program framework
Framework of the Philippine Defense Reform Program

In October 1999, the Joint Defense Assessment (JDA) began as a policy level discussion between the Philippine Secretary of National Defense and the US Secretary of Defense. An initial JDA report in 2001 provided an objective evaluation of Philippine defense capability. During a May 2003 state visit to Washington DC, President Arroyo requested U.S. assistance in conducting a strategic assessment of the Philippine defense system. This led to a follow-up JDA and formulation of recommendations addressing deficiencies found in the Philippine defense structure.[29]

The results of the 2003 JDA were devastating. The JDA findings revealed that the AFP was only partially capable of performing its most critical missions. Moreover, the results pointed overwhelmingly toward institutional and strategic deficiencies as being the root cause of most of the shortcomings. A common thread in all: the lack of strategy-based planning that would focus DND/AFP on addressing priority threats and link capability requirements with the acquisition process.

Specifically, the 2003 JDA revealed critical deficiencies in the following specific areas:[30]

  • Systemic approach to policy planning
  • Personnel management and leadership
  • Defense expenditures and budgeting
  • Acquisition
  • Supply and maintenance
  • Quality assurance for existing industrial base
  • Infrastructure support

During a reciprocal visit to the Philippines in October 2003 by U.S. President Bush, he and President Arroyo issued a joint statement expressing their commitment to embark upon a multi-year plan to implement the JDA recommendations. The Philippine Defense Reform (PDR) Program is the result of that agreement.

The JDA specifically identified 65 key areas and 207 ancillary areas of concern. These were reduced to ten broad-based and inter-related recommendations that later became the basis for what became known as the PDR Priority Programs. The ten are:[31] 1. Multi-Year Defense Planning System (MYDPS) 2. Improve Intelligence, Operations, and Training Capacities 3. Improve Logistics Capacity 4. Professional Development Program 5. Improve Personnel Management System 6. Multi-year Capabilities Upgrade Program (CUP) 7. Optimization of Defense Budget and Improvement of Management Controls 8. Centrally Managed Defense Acquisition System Manned by a Professional Workforce 9. Development of Strategic Communication Capability 10. Information Management Development Program

From the perspective of the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND), the framework for reforms is based on an environment of increasing economic prowess and a gradually decreasing threat level over time, and seeks to make the following improvements:[32] 1. Address AFP capability gaps to enable the AFP to effectively fulfill its mission. 2. Implement capability for seamless interoperability by developing proficiency in the conduct of joint operations, eliminating crisis handleing by individual major services as done previously. 3. improve effectiveness of internal security operations. 4. Enhance capability to counter terrorism and other transnational threats. 5. Provide sustainment and/or long-term viability of acquired capabilities. 6. Improve cost-effectiveness of operations. 7. Improve accountability and transparency in the DND. 8. Increase professionalism in the AFP through reforms in areas such as promotions, assignments, and training. 9. Increase involvement of AFP in the peace process.

Philippine Defense Reform Program steps
Steps of the Philippine Defense Reform Program

According to the goals stated in the Philippines Defense Reform Handbook:, "The PDR serves as the overall framework to re-engineer our systems and re-tool our personnel."[33] The Philippine Defense Reform follows a three-step implementation plan:[34] 1. Creating the environment for reform (2004–2005); 2. Enabling the defense establishment (2005–2007); 3. Implementing and institutionalizing reform (2007–2010).

On September 23, 2003, President Arroyo issued Executive Order 240, streamlining procedures for defense contracts for the expeditious implementation of defense projects and the speedy response to security threats while promoting transparency, impartiality, and accountability in government transactions. Executive Order 240, creating the Office of the Undersecretary of Internal Control in the DND, mandated in part to institutionalize reforms in the procurement and fund disbursement systems in the AFP and the DND.[35] On November 30, 2005, the Secretary of National Defense issued Department Order No. 82 (DO 82), creating the PDR Board and formalizing the reform organizational set-up between the DND and the AFP and defining workflow and decision-making processes.[36]

Philippine Defense Reform Program funding
Funding of the Philippine Defense Reform Program

The PDR is jointly funded by the U.S. and R.P. governments. from 2004 to 2008, funding amounted to $51.8 million from the U.S. and $514.0 million from the RP.[37] Initial planning assumptioned that the 18-year span of reform would encompass a period of steady rise in economic growth coupled with equally steady decline in the military threat from terrorists and separatists. Neither of these projections have proven accurate. As of 2010, at the six-year mark of PDR, the Philippine economy was internally strong, but suffering during a period of recession that crippled Philippine purchasing power. Worse, the threat situation in the Philippines had not improved significantly, or as in the case of the Sulu Archipelago, was deteriorating.[38]

During the Arroyo presidency, deliberate 'Rolodexing' of senior leadership within the DND and AFP constantly put U.S. PDR advocates in a position of re-winning previously won points and positions, and gave U.S. observers a 'two steps forward, one step back' impression of the program. As of 2010, U.S. observers were uncertain whether Arroyo's successor, Benigno Aquino III, chosen in Philippine Presidential elections on May 10, 2010, will continue the tradition of rapid turnover of senior leadership.[39]

U.S. observers have reported that overall progress of the PDR is unmistakable and has clearly struck a wider swath of the Philippine defense establishment than originally hoped. However, they see some troubling signs that the depth of the PDR's impact may not be as significant as originally desired. For example, the Philippine legislature continues to significantly underfund the DND and AFP, currently at.9 percent of GDP, compared to an average of 2 percent worldwide, and a 4 percent outlay by the U.S. Even with full implementation of all the PDR's programs and recommendations, the defense establishment would not be able to sustain itself at current funding levels. While this can be made up by future outlays, as of 2010 observers see no outward sign the legislature is planning to do so.[39] One U.S. observer likened PDR process to the progress of a Jeepney on a busy Manila avenue—explaining, "a Jeepney moves at its own pace, stops unexpectedly, frequently changes passengers, moves inexplicably and abruptly right and left in traffic, but eventually arrives safely."[40] President Aquino has promised to implement the PDR program.[41] As of 9 March 2011, a major Philippine news organization tracking performance on his promises evaluated that one as "To Be Determined."[42]

The Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States has not been updated since its signing in 1951. As of 2013, discussions were underway for a formal U.S.-Philippine Framework Agreement detail how U.S. forces would be able to "operate on Philippine military bases and in Philippine territorial waters to help build Philippine military capacity in maritime security and maritime domain awareness."[43] In particular, this Framework Agreement would which would increase rotational presence of American forces in the Philippines.[44]

Longstanding treaties, such as the aforementioned 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982,[45] are of great importance to the Philippines in supporting maritime security in particular; respectively, their legally binding nature provides long-term effectiveness for mutual defense cooperation and for the development of the Philippine maritime and archipelagic domain.

Philippine defense operations are supported in part through U.S. Section 1206 ($102.3 million) and 1207 ($16.02 million) funds. These funds are aimed at carrying out security, counterterrorism training and rule of law programs.[46] Overall, the United States is increasing U.S. funding for military education and training programs in Southeast Asia. The most recent U.S. Department of Defense budget for the region includes $90 million for programs, which is a 50 percent increased from four years ago.[47]

Handling threats

In 2007, The Jamestown Foundation, a US-based think tank, reported that the AFP was one of the weakest military forces in Southeast Asia, saying that as the country's primary security threats are land-based, the Army has received priority funding, and that the operational effectiveness of the Philippine Navy (PN) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has suffered accordingly, leaving the country's sea lanes largely unprotected.[48] In 2008, The Irrawaddy reported a statement by General Alexander B. Yano, then Chief of Staff of the AFP, that the Philippine military cannot fully defend the country from external threats due to a lack of weapons and a preoccupation with crushing the long-running communist and Muslim insurgencies. Yano went on to say that a more ambitious modernization of the ill-equipped navy and air force to better guard the country from external threats will have to wait, saying, "To be very frank with you, our capability as far as these aspects are concerned is a little deficient," and "We cannot really defend all these areas because of a lack of equipment."

Corruption within the higher ranks are believed to be one of the main reasons why modernization of the armed forces has remained stagnant for decades.[49]

Airmen with the 6th SOS train Philippine airmen to use a rope ladder
Airmen of the Philippine Air Force with the 6th SOS unit of the USAF during a bilateral exercise

As reported by The Philippine Star in an op-ed piece, the Commission on Audit said in its 2010 audit report for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) that with only 31 aging airplanes and 54 helicopters, the PAF "virtually has a non-existent air deterrent capability" and is "ill-equipped to be operationally responsive to national security and development."[50]

Since 1951, a Mutual Defense Treaty has been in effect between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States.[49][51]

The country is prone to transnational crime, maritime territorial disputes, environmental degradation and disasters. Transnational crimes include international terrorism, drug trafficking, small arms trafficking. Environmental degradation consists of marine resource exploitation and pollution. Disasters include typhoons and floods.

The Philippines faces technical and geospatial challenges in handling threats to maritime surveillance operations and external defense. Having the eighth longest coastline (36,000 km) in the world,[52] the country is subject to porous borders and coastlines, which place constraints on the acquisition of long-range radar systems, which require multilateral assistance due to limited defense funds. Additionally, the production, development, procurement and servicing of satellite technology is deemed as cost prohibitive.

National policies

Recent national policies have shifted the strategic direction of the AFP towards external, territorial defense as opposed to previous, internal foci. Some of the challenges with this change in strategic direction include the uneven distribution of maritime security resources among territorial, transnational, environmental, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) conflicts.[53] For example, Philippine Executive Order 57, signed in 2011 by President Benigno Aquino III, established a central inter-agency mechanism for enhancing governance in the country's maritime domain.[54] Between 1990 and 2011, Navy and Navy Reserve Manpower (including Naval Aviation and Marines) in the Philippines totaled 24,000 (active) and 15,000 (reserve).

Conflicts over responsibility for maritime surveillance between armed forces continue to underscore the numerous challenges that the TBA faces. For example, following the expulsion of Ferdinand Marcos from the Philippines in 1986, the Philippine Coast Guard separated from the Philippine Navy, resulting in an uneven distribution of resources and jurisdictional confusion.[55]

Recognition and achievements

The Philippine Army shooting team was the overall champion in a two-week competition held in Australia, 2013.[56] The Philippine Army shooting team won 14 gold medals, 50 silver medals and two bronze medals in Australian Army Skills at the Arms Meeting (AASAM) 2014.[57] The 7th Philippine Contingent peacekeepers to the Golan Heights were awarded the prestigious United Nations Service Medal for the performance of their mission.[58]

Ranks

The officer ranks are as follows:[59][60]

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
PhilippinesPhilippines
(Edit)
No equivalent General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Lieutenant Commandant First Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant Unknown
General Lieutenant
General
Major
General
Brigadier
General
Colonel Lieutenant
Colonel
Major Captain First
Lieutenant
Second
Lieutenant
Philippines Philippines
(Edit)
No equivalent PN ADM BlkDr-Slv.svg PN VADM BlkDr-Slv.svg PN RADM BlkDr-Slv.svg PN CDRE BlkDr-Slv.svg PN CPT BlkDr-Slv.svg PN CDR BlkDr-Slv.svg PN LTCDR BlkDr-Slv.svg PN LTSG BlkDr-Slv.svg PN LTJG BlkDr-Slv.svg PN ENS BlkDr-Slv.svg No equivalent
Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander Lieutenant Lieutenant (junior grade) Ensign
Philippines Philippines
(Edit)
No equivalent PAF GEN Svc.svg PAF LTGEN Svc.svg PAF MGEN Svc.svg PAF BGEN Svc.svg PAF COL Svc.svg PAF LTC Svc.svg PAF MAJ Svc.svg PAF CPT Svc.svg PAF 1LT Svc.svg PAF 2LT Svc.svg
General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant
Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer

These ranks, heavily inspired by those of the United States Armed Forces, are officially used in the Philippine Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. The ranks are more frequently referred and addressed in English rather than in Spanish or Tagalog/Filipino, since English is the working language within the Armed Forces.

The ranks in the Philippine Navy are similar to the US Navy ranks, the only difference is the rank of Commodore in the Philippine Navy is equivalent to the Lower Half Rear Admiral of the US Navy.

The alternative style of address for the ranks of lieutenant junior grade, lieutenant senior grade, second lieutenant, and first lieutenant are simply lieutenant in English, or tenyente or teniente in Tagalog and Spanish, respectively.

PMC Martial Arts
A Philippine Marine Corps instructor teaches US Marines "Pekiti-Tirsia Kali", a Philippine martial art during military exercises

The ranks of enlisted personnel in Filipino are the same as their U.S. counterparts, with some differences. Except in the Marine Corps, never used are the ranks of specialist, sergeant first class, and first sergeant. Lance corporal, gunnery sergeant, and master gunnery sergeant are also never used by the Philippine Marine Corps, whose ranks are the same as the Army's. Additionally, sergeant majors in the AFP are only appointments for senior ranked non-commissioned officers (NCOs) rather than ranks, examples of such appointments being the Command Sergeant Major, AFP (held by a first chief master sergeant or a first master chief petty officer) and the Command Master Chief Petty Officer, Philippine Navy (held by an either MCPO or CMS or a SCPO or SMS).

In the Philippine Navy, they also use enlisted ranks which come from the U.S. Navy with their specialization, e.g. "Master Chief and Boatswain's mate Juan Dela Cruz, PN" (Philippine Navy).

In effect, the AFP uses the pre-1955 US military enlisted ranks, with several changes, especially in the Navy and in the senior NCO ranks.

There are no warrant officers in between officer ranks and enlisted ranks.

The uniqueness of Philippine military ranks can be seen in the current highest ranks of first chief master sergeant (for the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force) and first master chief petty officer (for the Navy), both created in 2004, and since then have become the highest enlisted rank of precedence. Prior, first chief sergeant and master chief petty officer were the highest enlisted ranks and rates, the former being the highest rank of precedence for Army, Air Force and Marine NCOs. Today only the rank of first master chief petty officer is unused, but the rank of first chief master sergeant is now being applied.

Five-star rank

President Ferdinand Marcos, who acted also as national defense secretary (from 1965–1967 and 1971–1972), issued an order conferring the five-star officer rank to the President of the Philippines, making himself as its first rank holder. Since then, the rank of five-star general/admiral became an honorary rank of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces whenever a new president assumes office for a six-year term, thus making the President the most senior military official.[61]

The only career military officer who reached the rank of five-star general/admiral de jure is President Fidel V. Ramos (USMA 1950) (president from 1992–1998) who rose from second lieutenant up to commander-in-chief of the armed forces.[62]

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was also made Field Marshal of the Philippine Army with five-star rank in 1938, the only person to hold that rank. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines, holds an equivalent of five-star general under the title Generalissimo and Minister/Field Marshal as the first commander-in-chief of the AFP.

The position is honorary and may be granted to any military officer, especially generals or admirals who had significant contributions and showed heroism, only in times of war and national defense concerns and emergencies. The highest peacetime rank is that of four-star general which is being held only by the AFP Chief of Staff. However, no law specifically establishes the rank of five-star general in the Armed Forces of the Philippines unlike in the United States and other countries.

Rank insignia

The AFP, like the military forces of Singapore and Indonesia, uses unitary rank insignia for enlisted personnel, in the form of raised chevrons increasing by seniority, save for the Philippine Air Force which uses inverted chevrons from Airman 2nd Class onward only since recently.[63] In the Philippine Navy these are supplemented by rating insignia by specialty, similar to the United States Navy. Like the British and Spanish armed services, however, senior ranked NCOs (especially in the Philippine Navy) also wear shoulder rank insignia only on the mess, semi-dress and dress uniforms, and in some cases even collar insignia. Like the US military all NCOs wear sleeve stripes to denote years of service in the enlisted ranks. Sleeve insignia for enlisted personnel in the Army and the Navy are similar but are different from those used in the US while those in the Marine Corps mirror its US counterpart but with special symbols from Master Sergeants onward (adopted in the early 2000s).

Officer ranks in the AFP are inspired by revolutionary insignia used by the Philippine Army after the 1898 declaration of independence. These are unitary rank insignia used in the every day, combat, duty and technical uniforms both on shoulders and collars (the latter in the khaki uniforms of the Navy), but in the semi-dress, dress and mess uniforms are different: The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps use unitary rank insignia on the shoulder board but the Navy uses the very same rank insignia format as in the US Navy except for the star (for Ensigns to Captains) in almost all officer uniforms and all general officer and flag officer shoulder boards in the full dress uniform are in gold colored backgrounds with the rank insignia and the AFP seal (the star arrangement is the same in the Army, Air Force and Marines but is different in the Navy). The Navy uses sleeve insignia only on its dress blue uniforms. Lieutenants and Captains wear 1 to 3 triangles (and Navy Ensigns and Lieutenants (junior and senior grades) in their working, duty and combat uniforms) while Majors, Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels wear 1, 2, and 3 suns (both triangles and suns have the ancient baybayin letter ka (K) in the center) as well as Navy superior officers (Lieutenant Commanders, Commanders and Captains) in their working, duty and combat uniforms respectively.

Gallery

100204-N-3879W-023

Philippine Navy rigid hull inflatable boats perform a maritime interdiction operation exercise in Manila Bay.

Philippine Marines with 28th Company 8th Marine Battalion Landing Team

Philippine Marine Corps push forward after splashing ashore in an amphibious assault vehicle during an exercise.

100204-N-1008D-062

A NAVSOG unit climbs a caving ladder aboard the BRP Dagupan City during a maritime interdiction exercise.

Army.mil-2008-02-21-124604

Philippine Army Staff Sgt. Manolo Martin demonstrates the proper way to hold a king cobra during survival course training.

Endxj

Airmen of the 710th Special Operations Wing prepare to jump from a KC-130 during Parachute Operations training.

F-5E Philippine AF at Clark AB 1982.JPEG

The Northrop F-5 was the primary multi-role aircraft of the Philippine Air Force from 1967-2005.

PF-15 and SARV-002 CARAT 2013

BRP Gregorio del Pilar steam in formation together with BRP Edsa Dos during the sea phase of CARAT Philippines 2013.

PAF W-3A Sokol

Philippine Air Force W-3A Sokol in combat helicopter paint scheme before transferring to search and rescue role.

FA-50 Golden Eagle (Philippine Air Force, February 19, 2016)

Two FA-50 Jets of the Philippine Air Force.

Brp Gregorio del Pilar and Brp Ramon Alcaraz

Two Del Pilar-class frigates at Subic Bay Port

AFP Battledress patch
Battledress identification patch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Philippine Army Battledress patch
Philippine Army battledress patch
Philippine Air Force Battledress patch
Philippine Air Force battledress patch
PM battledress patch

Philippine Marine Corps battledress pocket patch

Philippine Navy Battledress patch
Philippine Navy battledress patch
(for NAVSOG Personnel in battledress uniform)
Philippine Armed Forces Emblem 1935-1946 Gold
Emblem of the Philippine Commonwealth Armed Forces, 1935-1946
AFP General Staff Patch 1946-1965
Shoulder patch of the AFP General Staff, 1946-1965

See also

References

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External links

2000 Philippine campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

The 2000 Philippine campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was a military campaign conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against a Muslim secessionist group that took place during the presidency of Joseph Estrada in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the Philippines. The campaign was waged "to weaken the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's capability to undermine the territorial integrity of the Philippines and inflict harm on both government personnel and civilians".

Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College

The AFP Command and General Staff College, known officially as the AFPCGSC or GSC, (Filipino: Dalubhasaan ng Pangasiwaan at Kawanihang Heneral ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas) is one the training units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is tasked with training future generals, as well as general and command staff, and developing doctrine, training materials and courses for the AFP.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor (Filipino: Medalya ng Kagitingan) is the Armed Forces of the Philippines' highest military honor awarded for a conspicuous deed of personal bravery or self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty that distinguishes the recipient from his comrades. It is defined in the Philippine Army Awards and Decorations reference material FC 1-0062, itself adapted from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Awards and Decorations Handbook, Second Edition published in 1997, as an award for "heroism in combat" and is foremost in the order of precedence of awards and decorations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.The medal is awarded by the President of the Philippines to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and allied military personnel, including recognized guerrilla forces. The Medal of Valor is held in such high regard that the President is required to salute the medal and the individual wearing it.Under Philippine Republic Act No. 9049, a Medal of Valor awardee is entitled to lifetime monthly gratuity of ₱20,000 that is separate and distinct from any salary or pension the awardee is receiving or will receive from the government. The amount of this monthly gratuity was increased to ₱75,000 in 2016 by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center, also known as the V. Luna General Hospital or the AFP General Hospital, is one of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Wide Support Units tasked to provide medical care to Military and Civilian Personnel of the AFP, which includes their immediate dependents. It also refers to the healthcare facility complex that is occupied by the unit along V. Luna Avenue in Pinyahan, Quezon City.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Museum

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Museum, also known as the AFP Museum is a military museum located within the premises of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, Philippines.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Command

IThe Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Command, known officially as the AFP RESCOM or RESCOM, (Filipino: Pangasiwaan ng Panlaang Kawal ng Hukbong Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas) is one the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Major Support Commands created for the sole purpose of Reserve Force management, procurement, and organization.

Awards and decorations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Awards and decorations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are military decorations which recognize service and personal accomplishments while a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy and Philippine Marine Corps).

Boodle fight

A boodle fight, in the context of Filipino culture, is the military practice of eating a meal.

Carlito Galvez Jr.

Carlito Guansing Galvez, Jr. is a retired Filipino general and the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy "Sandiwa" Class of 1985. He is also known for his leadership of the AFP Western Mindanao Command during the Battle of Marawi. He is a recipient of the United States Eisenhower Fellowships in 2006 and worked on the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2015 as co-Chairman on the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH). He also commanded the Army 104th Brigade, and the 6th Infantry Division.

On December 12, 2018, Galvez was appointed as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process after Jesus Dureza resigned amid a corruption scandal in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). He is a staunch advocate of the peace process with the MILF, Galvez has been well-received by many Bangsamoro stakeholders.

Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, usually the only soldier holding a rank of four-star general/admiral, is the head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including all service branches (Army, Navy–Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard — in Wartime Attached Service) under its command. He is also the highest-ranking military officer of the whole AFP, and appointed by, as well as directly reports to the President of the Philippines under Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution. He also executes the President's commands, tactics, operations, plannings, and strategies, as well as serves as the Immediate Adviser to the Secretary of National Defense (Philippines) and prescribe directions to all commands (including The Commanding General of the Philippine Army, The Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy and The Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force). Its direct equivalent in the United States Armed Forces is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Unlike his/her United States counterpart which is merely supervisory, the AFP Chief of Staff has operational control over all military personnel of the Armed Forces.

The following is the list of Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP). The Armed Forces of the Philippines were created as a result of the December 21, 1935 National Defense Act, Commonwealth Act No. 1. However, the origin of the organization can be traced back to the establishment of the Philippine Constabulary, armed Filipino forces organized in 1901 by the United States to combat the Philippine Revolutionary Forces then led by General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Commanding General of the Philippine Army

The Commanding General of the Philippine Army is the overall commander and senior general of the Philippine Army, the ground arm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is normally held by a three-star rank of Lieutenant General. Its direct U.S. Army equivalent is the U.S. Army Chief of Staff.

Department of National Defense (Philippines)

The Department of National Defense (DND; Filipino: Kagawaran ng Tanggulang Pambansa, KTP) is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for guarding against external and internal threats to peace and security in the country. The Department of National Defense exercises executive supervision over the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), the Government Arsenal (GA), and the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC). It is also responsible for disaster preparation and management in the country.

It is headed by the Secretary of National Defense, who is a member of the President's cabinet. The current Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines is Delfin Lorenzana as of 30 June 2016.

Desiderio Suson

Desiderio P. Suson was a Philippine Constabulary enlisted trooper and a recipient the Philippines' highest military award for courage, the Medal of Valor. Suson was assigned as the commander of a 14-man Philippine Constabulary detachment in Gamay, Northern Samar on 31 October 1980 when they came under attack from approximately 300 New People's Army rebels. Moreno and all his men were wounded.

Suson retired from the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the rank of Captain. He is buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig, Metro Manila.

Military Merit Medal (Philippines)

The Military Merit Medal is a military decoration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The medal is awarded for heroic achievement or meritorious service during, or in support of military action against an enemy.

Military ranks of the Philippines

The following list presents the ranks and insignia of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, one of Asia's oldest armed services.

Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines

Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (OEF-P) or Operation Freedom Eagle was part of Operation Enduring Freedom and the global War on Terror. The Operation targeted the various Jihadist terror groups operating in the country. By 2009, about 600 U.S. military personnel were advising and assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the Southern Philippines. In addition, by 2014, the CIA had sent its elite paramilitary officers from their Special Activities Division to hunt down and kill or capture key terrorist leaders. This group had the most success in combating and capturing Al-Qaeda leaders and the leaders of associated groups like Abu Sayyaf.

Philippine Constabulary

The Philippine Constabulary (PC; Filipino: Hukbóng Pamayapà ng Pilipinas, HPP; Spanish: Constabularia Filipina, CF) was a gendarmerie-type police force of the Philippines from 1901 to 1991. It was created by the American colonial government to replace the Spanish colonial Guardia Civil. It was the first of the four service commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. On January 29, 1991, it was merged with the Integrated National Police to form the Philippine National Police.

Ricardo David

Ricardo A. David, Jr is a former Chief of staff of the Philippine Armed Forces. He was the Armed Forces Northern Luzon Command chief. On June 30, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III picked David as his AFP chief. On July 2, 2010, Ricardo David assumes the command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from Lt Gen. Nestor Z Ochoa.

Roy Cimatu

Roy Agullana Cimatu (born 4 July 1946) is a Filipino retired general who is the current Philippine Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, serving in the Duterte Administration. He succeeded environmentalist Gina Lopez after her nomination was rejected by the Commission on Appointments on May 3, 2017. Cimatu is a retired Philippine Army general who previously served as the 30th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and as Special Envoy to the Middle East during the Iraq War.

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