The Philippine Army (PA; Filipino: Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas) is the main, oldest and largest branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) responsible for ground warfare. The Commanding General of the Philippine Army, its professional and overall head, is Lieutenant General Gilbert I. Gapay, who took office on December 6, 2019. Its main headquarters is located at Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila.
- Organize, train and equip Army forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land;
- Prepare such units as may be necessary for the effective prosecution of national defense plans and programs and Armed Forces mission, including the expansion of the peacetime Army component to meet any emergency;
- Develop, in accordance with the other major services, tactics, techniques and equipment of interest to the Army on field operations;
- Train, organize and equip all Army reserve units; and
- Perform such functions as the higher authorities may direct.
After three centuries of Spanish rule, there were calls for social reforms and an end to the perceived oppressive friar rule. In 1896, Andres Bonifacio founded the Katipunan to prepare his band of Filipinos for armed revolt against the Spanish government. The Katipunan formed an army of insurgents.
Almost a year after the outbreak of hostilities between the Katipuneros and the Spanish troops, Emilio Aguinaldo's Philippine Revolutionary Government and its Army were born on March 22, 1897 at Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabon in Cavite. General Artemio Ricarte was named Captain General of the Ejercito en la Republica de las Islas Filipinas or the revolutionary Philippine Army. This date marks the founding day Philippine Revolutionary Army (PRA).
On June 12, 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine Independence from Spain and formed the first Philippine Republic, in which he sat as its president. The Filipino troops were to enjoy only a brief respite from combat when American forces came in to establish rule in the islands by virtue of the Treaty of Paris, which Spain co-signed with America on 10 December 1898. The treaty ceded the Philippines to the United States.
Philippine–American War (1899–1902)
During the final years of the Philippine–American War, with the notable successes by the all-Filipino Macabebe Scouts cavalry squadron (raised in 1899) under U.S. command against the Philippine Revolutionary Army (PRA), the American President Theodore Roosevelt officially sanctioned the raising of the Philippine Scouts (PS) as part of the United States Army, with full effect starting from October 1901. Earlier, in August that same year, came the colonial civil government's decision to found the Philippine Constabulary (PC) as the national gendarmerie force for law enforcement. Both of these organizations and their victories over the PRA contributed to the official end of the conflict in 1902, even as resistance continued (inclusive of the Muslims of the south, resulting in the Moro Rebellion) through 1914.
Starting in 1910, Filipino personnel in the Philippine Scouts were sent to the United States Military Academy with one PS soldier being sent per year. Several of these graduates who served with the Scouts, plus PC officers, both formed part of the first officer corps of the revitalized Philippine Army established in 1935.
Commonwealth Period (1935–1946)
The Philippine Army of today was initially organized under the National Defense Act of 1935 (Commonwealth Act No. 1) that formally created the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The act specified that in so far as may be practicable, original appointments by the President in grades above third lieutenant should be made from among former holders of reserve commissions in the United States Army, from among former officers of the Philippine Scouts and Constabulary.
After the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth on November 15, 1935, President Manuel L. Quezon sought the services of General Douglas MacArthur to evolve a national defense plan. The official rebirth of the Philippine Army occurred with the passage of Commonwealth Act No. 1, approved on December 21, 1935, which effected the organization of a Council of National Defense and of the Army of the Philippines. The act set forth the organizational structure of the army in some detail, set forth enlistment procedures, and established mobilization procedures. With this act, the AFP was officially established.
The development of the new Philippine Army was slow. The year 1936 was devoted to the building of camps, organization of cadres, and the special training of instructors, drawn largely from the Constabulary, which joined the new force as the Constabulary Division. The commander of the Philippine Department provided Philippine Scouts as instructors and detailed U.S. Army officers to assist in the inspection, instruction, and administration of the program. By the end of the year instructors had been trained and camps established.
The first group of 20,000 men was called up on January 1, 1937; and by the end of 1939 there were 4,800 officers and 104,000 men in the reserves. Infantry training was given at camps scattered throughout the Philippines; field artillery training was concentrated in the vicinity of the U.S. Army's Fort Stotsenburg near Angeles, about fifty miles north of Manila, and specialized training was given at Fort William McKinley just south of Manila. Coast artillery instruction was carried on at Fort Stotsenburg and at Grande Island in Subic Bay by personnel supplied largely by the American commander at Corregidor.
With the threat of war with Japan becoming imminent, on July 26, 1941 a new U.S. command in the Far East was created, known as the United States Army Forces Far East (USAFFE) under the command of General MacArthur. On the same date, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, issued a Presidential Order (6 Fed. Reg. 3825) which called the Philippine Army into the service of the Armed Forces of the United States. The Presidential Order did not order all the military forces of the Philippine government into the service of the United States Armed Forces; only those units and personnel indicated in orders issued by a general officer of the United States Army were mobilized and made an integral part of the United States Army Forces Far East (USAFFE), and only those members of a unit who physically reported for duty were inducted. With an annual appropriation of 16 million pesos, the mobilized units trained new Filipino members in defending the nation and protecting its people.
World War II
When World War II broke out in December 1941, two regular and ten reserve divisions of the Philippine Army undertook the defense of the Philippines. These divisions were incorporated into the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) under the command of General MacArthur.
Japanese forces invaded the Philippines after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu on 7 December 1941. At this time, two regular and ten reserve divisions of the Philippine Army undertook the defense of the Philippines. This included North Luzon Force (under then Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright), South Luzon Force activated 13 December 1941 under Brig. Gen. George M. Parker Jr., the Visayan-Mindanao Force under Colonel W.F. Sharp in the southern islands (61st, 81st, and 101st Divisions plus three other regiments), and the Reserve Force. North Luzon Force included the 11th, 21st, and 31st Divisions, all reserve. South Luzon Force include the 1st (regular) Division, and the 41st, 51st, and 71st (reserve) Divisions. These divisions were incorporated into the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).
The equipment of these units included: Renault FT tank (prewar training only); 75mm SPM (manned by PA and PS personnel); Canon de 155 mm GPF; Canon de 155 C modèle 1917 Schneider 75 mm Gun M1917; 2.95 inch QF Mountain gun; 3-inch gun; 6-pounder naval gun; Stokes Mortar; Brandt mle 27/31; Canon d'Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916 TRP; M2 Browning machine gun; M1917 Browning machine gun; M1919 Browning machine gun; M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle; M1917 Enfield rifle; M1903 Springfield rifle; Thompson submachine gun; and the M1911 pistol.
After the Battle of Bataan, the Japanese began the siege and Battle of Corregidor. Defending forces included regiments of the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays, the 4th Marine Regiment and other Philippine, U.S. Army and Navy units and soldiers. Japanese forces landed at Corregidor on May 5, 1942. The island's fall led to the surrender of all defending Filipino and American forces on May 6, 1942. About 4,000 of the 11,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war from the island were marched through the streets of Manila to incarceration at Fort Santiago in Intramuros and Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, Rizal, which had become Japanese camps.
With the fall of Corregidor, Filipino and U.S. forces under U.S. command surrendered. After the surrender, thousands of Filipinos formerly under U.S. command (especially the former Visayan-Mindanao Force, which had seen little combat) evaded Japanese confinement and hid in the jungle. Every major island had guerrilla groups; Luzon had a dozen, including the Communist Huks. After initial clashes based on religious and political rivalries order was gradually restored, with most willing to trust the United States to grant independence in time. Many of these groups worked under the control of General Douglas MacArthur's General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area. The Japanese occupation of the Philippines saw repeated combat between the Japanese imperial forces, their collaborators and Filipino guerrillas. The American and Allied liberation force which began landing on October 17, 1944 was aided by local Filipino soldiers and recognized guerrillas in the liberation of the Philippines.
President Sergio Osmeña and Major General Basilio J. Valdes ordered the re-establishment of the army. The general headquarters of the Philippine Army and the United States Army Forces in the Far East moved to Tacloban, Leyte on October 23. From October 17, 1944 to September 2, 1945, local Philippine Constabulary troops, guerrilla units and the American liberation forces fought Imperial Japanese and Kempeitai troops which were supported by the Bureau of Constabulary and Makapili militia.
After the restoration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines on October 20, 1944, President Sergio Osmena, the government, military officials and cabinet returned from exile in the United States.
After the war, four military areas were activated to take the place of military districts. The Armed Forces was reorganized which gave birth to the four major services of the Armed Forces. Headquarters National Defense Forces was renamed General Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Service of the Philippine Army as part of the United States Army terminated as of midnight, June 30, 1946, by authority of General Order #168, U.S. Army Forces, Western Pacific. The next day, on July 1, President Manuel Roxas issued Executive Order No. 94 s. 1947 which, among other things, reorganized the Philippine Army into a service branch of what was now called the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This resulted in the formation of the Philippine Air Force and reformation of the Philippine Navy as separate organizations after long years as part of the Philippine Army.
In the early fifties and the mid-sixties, the Philippine government extended a helping hand to war-torn countries as part of its commitment as member of the United Nations.
1950 would see the new army not just fighting Communist groups in Luzon but from August of that year, even the Korean People's Army and their allies in the People's Liberation Army in the Korean War as PA Battalion Combat Teams (BCTs) forming the bulk of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea formed part of the UN forces, led by the US, that fought in the conflict. The decade saw the raising of the first active division of the Army, the 1st Infantry Division. With the victory over the Huks later in the 50s, the BCTs became active duty infantry battalions. Formed in the same time was the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, and in 1962 the PA raised its airborne and special forces formation, the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) following the traditions of the US Army Special Forces (the Green Berets) and the 11th Airborne Division that helped liberate Southern Luzon and Manila at the closing stages of the Japanese occupation of the country.
It would only take until the 1970s and the Communist and Muslim rebellions that would force the PA into the establishment of its 2nd Infantry Division, which led to the raising of more infantry divisions all over the country, as well as the formal raising of the Army's Special Operations Command and what is now today the Armor Division. By the 2000s, the Army acquired a small aviation capability for transport purposes, with plans to include attack and transport helicopters, a rocket artillery battery unit, and a land-based missile battery system unit.
|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|
|Commander-in-Chief||Generals||Senior officers||Junior officers||Officer Candidates|
The Philippine Army has several regular units dedicated to counter-insurgency and conventional army operations.
- Armor and Cavalry
- Medical Services
- Signal Corps
- Army Intelligence
- Ordinance Services
- Finance Services
- Adjutant General Services
- 1st Infantry "Tabak" Division
- 2nd Infantry "Jungle Fighter" Division
- 3rd Infantry "Spearhead Troopers" Division
- 4th Infantry "Diamond" Division
- 5th Infantry "Star" Division
- 6th Infantry "Kampilan" Division
- 7th Infantry "Kaugnay" Division
- 8th Infantry "Storm Trooper" Division
- 9th Infantry "Spear" Division
- 10th Infantry "Agila" Division
- 11th Infantry "Alakdan" Division
Armor and Cavalry units
- Armor "Pambato" Division (formerly Mechanized Infantry Division)
- 1st Mechanized Infantry (Maasahan) Brigade
- 2nd Mechanized Infantry (Magbalantay) Brigade
- 1st Cavalry (Tagapanguna) Squadron
- 2nd Cavalry (Masigasig) Squadron
- 3rd Cavalry Squadron
- 1st Cavalry (Rapido) Company (S)
- 2nd Cavalry (Tagapaglingkod) Company (S)
- 3rd Cavalry (Katapangan) Company (S)
- 4th Cavalry (Karangalan) Company (S)
- 5th Cavalry Company (S)
- 6th Cavalry (Paghiliugyon) Company (S)
- 7th Cavalry (Masasarigan) Company (S)
- 51st Engineer Brigade
- 52nd Engineer Brigade
- 53rd Engineer Brigade
- 54th Engineer Brigade
- 55th Engineer Brigade
- Army Aviation "Bagwis" Regiment (Provisional)
Combat support units
- Army Signal Regiment
- Civil-Military Operations Regiment
- 191st Military Police Battalion
- Intelligence Service Group
- Armor Maintenance (Masinop) Battalion
- Headquarters & Headquarters Service (Tagapaglaan) Battalion
Combat Service Support units
- Army Reserve Command
- Training and Doctrine Command - Training Command, Philippine Army, established 1986, was reorganised as TRADOC effective March 1, 1995.
- Army Support Command
- Finance Center
- Philippine Army Band (formally known as Headquarters Philippine Army Band)
- Philippine Army Nurse Corps
- Philippine Army Medical Corps
- Philippine Army Dental Service
- Philippine Army Security and Escort Battalion
- 1st Logistics Support Brigade
- The Armor School (Kahusayan)
- Philippine Army Medical Administrative Corps
- Philippine Army Veterinary Corps
- Judge Advocate General Service
- Corps of Professors
- Army Chief Chaplain Service
The Philippine Army has a number of units dedicated to special operations. These units report directly to the Philippine Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM):
This is a list of all Philippine Army bases in the Philippines.
|Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo||Quezon City|
|Camp Gen. Rigoberto Atienza||Libis, Quezon City|
|Fort Bonifacio||Metro Manila|
|Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz||Upi, Gamu, Isabela|
|Fort Gen. Gregorio H. Del Pilar||Baguio City|
|Camp Lt. Tito Abat||Manaoag, Pangasinan|
|Fort Ramon Magsaysay||Nueva Ecija|
|Camp Tinio||Cabanatuan City|
|Camp Servillano Aquino||Tarlac City|
|Camp O'Donnell||Santa Lucia, Capas, Tarlac|
|Camp Tecson||San Miguel, Bulacan|
|Camp General Mateo M. Capinpin||Tanay, Rizal|
|Camp General Mariano Riego De Dios||Tanza, Cavite|
|Camp Alfredo Santos||Calauag, Quezon|
|Camp Guillermo Nakar||Lucena City|
|Camp Elias Angeles||San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur|
|Camp Weene Martillana||San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur|
|Camp General Macario Sakay||Los Baños, Laguna|
|Camp General Simeon A. Ola||Legazpi, Albay|
|Camp Lapu-Lapu||Lahug, Cebu City|
|Camp Major Jesus M. Jizmundo||Libas, Banga, Aklan|
|Camp Gen. Macario G. Peralta, Jr.||Jamindan, Capiz|
|Camp Gen. Adriano Hernandez||Dingle, Iloilo|
|Camp Monteclaro||Igtuba, Miagao, Iloilo|
|Camp Tirambulo||McKinley, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental|
|Camp Leon Kilat||Tanjay, Negros Oriental|
|Camp Ruperto Kangleon||Palo, Leyte|
|Camp Jorge Downes||Ormoc, Leyte|
|Camp General Vicente Lukban||Catbalogan, Samar|
|Camp Martin Delgado||Iloilo City|
|Camp Francisco C. Fernandez Jr.||Agan-an, Sibulan, Negros Oriental|
|Camp General Basilio Navarro||Zamboanga City|
|Camp Panacan - Naval Station Felix Apolinario||Panacan, Davao City|
|Camp Edilberto Evangelista||Patag, Cagayan de Oro|
|Camp Major Cesar L. Sang-an||Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur|
|Camp Colonel Oscar F. Natividad||Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon|
|Camp Osito D. Bahian||Malaybalay, Bukidnon|
|Camp Ranao||Marawi City|
|Camp Allere||Salvador, Lanao del Norte|
|Camp Duma Sinsuat||Barira, Maguindanao|
|Camp Brig. Gen. Gonzalo H. Siongco||Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao|
|Camp Robert Eduard M. Lucero||Nasapian, Carmen, Cotabato|
|Camp Paulino Santos||Dado, Alamada, Cotabato|
|Camp Brig. Gen. Hermenegildo Agaab||Malandag, Malungon, Sarangani|
|Camp Overton||Suarez, Iligan|
|Camp Fermin G. Lira, Jr.||Bulaong Road, General Santos|
|Torrey Barracks||Malabang, Lanao del Sur|
|Camp Amai Pakpak||Marawi, Lanao del Sur|
|Camp Cabunbata||Cabunbata, Isabela, Basilan|
|Camp General Manuel T. Yan Sr.||Tuboran, Mawab, Compostela Valley|
|Camp San Gabriel||Mintal, Davao City|
|Camp Arturo Enrile||Malagutay, Zamboanga City|
The army employs various individual weapons to provide light firepower at short ranges. The army also employs various crew-served weapons to provide heavy firepower at ranges exceeding that of individual weapons.
M113 Armored Mortar Carrier Upgrade
Elbit Systems was awarded to upgrade the Mechanized Infantry Division's M113A2 fleet, with 44 units to be installed with the Elbit Dragon 12.7mm RCWS, while 5 units will be converted to self propelled mortar carriers with an 81mm Soltam Cardom mortar system. Delivery will start and be completed within 2019.
Light Tank Project
The Philippine Army, along with the DND, plans to acquire 15 light to medium tanks as training units for future Main Battle Tank acquisitions, as well for urban warfare, as part of a lesson during the Battle of Marawi, wherein the current firepower of the AFP, from fire-support to IFVs guns were proven insufficient and unable to hit through concrete structures used as defensive positions during the battle, as well as proper armor protection under heavy fire. The project is under the Horizon 2 phase projects of the Modernization Program.
Land-Based Surface Missile System acquisition
The DND plans to acquire a shore-based missile system with a budget of ₱6.5 billion that will be placed under the control and supervision of the Army. It will consist of 12 launchers with its attendant trailers and tracking systems plus the missiles themselves. These shore-to-ship missiles could be fired to hit naval or other sea-based targets.
The Shore Based Missile systems were shelved in favor for body kits and other internal security operations.
In 2018, the plan was back on track as part of the PHP 300 billion/USD $5.6 billion Horizon 2 phase projects, with the budget for the Land-Based Missile System approved by President Duterte in June 2018. The BrahMos Missile Systems being the main contender for the project. The talks are expected to end in a deal at 2020, with at least 2 batteries set to be acquired.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Philippine Army.|
- December 21, 1935 (formerly the Philippine Commonwealth Army)
March 22, 1897 (Traditional, from the Ejército Revolucionario Filipino)
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