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Philippine Army

Philippine Army
Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas
Ejercito Filipino
Philippine Army Emblem
Founded December 21, 1935 (March 22, 1897 as the Philippine Revolutionary Army and formerly the Philippine Commonwealth Army)
Country Philippines

23x15px Insular Government
23x15px Commonwealth of the Philippines
23x15px Government of the Philippines

1946 - present
Type Army
Size 85,000
Part of Armed Forces of the Philippines
Garrison/HQ Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Motto "At your service, across the land"
Anniversaries March 22, Army Day
Philippine-American War
World War II
* Philippines Campaign (1941–1942)
* Japanese Occupation of the Philippines (1942-1945)
* Philippines Campaign (1944–1945)
Hukbalahap Rebellion
Korean War
Vietnam War
Iraq War[1]
Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines
Communist Insurgencies
Islamic Insurgencies
Commanding General of the Philippine Army 45px Lieutenant General Hernando Iriberri, AFP
Command Sergeant Major 30px SMS Ruben Lucero (Inf) PA

The Philippine Army (PA), (Tagalog: Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas; Spanish: Ejercito Filipino), is the main branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) responsible for ground warfare. Commanding-General, then Major General, now Lieutenant General Hernando Delfin Carmelo Arreza Iriberri of the Philippine Military Academy "Matikas" Class of 1983, assumed office on 7 February 2014, replacing now retired Lieutenant General Noel A. Coballes of the PMA Class 1980.


File:FvfPArmy0240 06.JPG
Heroe's Gate (Philippine Army HPA Entrance Gate), Fort Bonifacio
LTGen Hernando DCA Iriberri AFP, the incumbent Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

The Philippine Army, as the ground forces branch of the Armed Forces, traces its roots from the Tejeros Convention of March 22, 1897, during the days of the Philippine Revolution, which among its decisions, ordered the raising of a standing army for the revolutionary forces in Cavite and all over the nation. The Philippine Revolutionary Army, led by its first commanding general, Captain General Artemio Ricarte, was the fruit of that convention's efforts, and the new army fought the battles of the revolution till the Pact of Biak-na-Bato in the same year as its creation, and then again from 1898 till the collapse of the First Republic in 1901. Thus, March 22 today is marked as Army Day in honor of its formal foundation.

During the final years of the Philippine-American War, with the resounding successes of the all-Filipino Macabebe Scouts cavalry squadron (raised 1899) which served under US command, US President Theodore Roosevelt officially sanctioned the raising of the Philippine Scouts as part of the United States Army, with full effect starting from October 1901. Months earlier, in August that same year, came the colonial civil government's decision to found the Philippine Constabulary as the national gendarmerie force for law enforcement. Both of these organizations and their victories over the Filipino troops partly resulted in the official end of the conflict in 1902, even as resistance continued (including from the Muslims of the south, resulting to the Moro Rebellion) until 1914.

Starting 1910, the 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 in 1935.

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.[2][3]

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.[2] With this act, the AFP was officially established.

The development of the new Philippine Army was slow.[4] 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 1 January 1937 and by the end of 1939 there were 4,800 officers and 104,000 men in the reserves.[4] 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.

A decade later, 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 Douglas 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.[5][6] With an annual appropriation of 16 million pesos, the mobilized units trained new Filipino members in defending the nation and protecting its people.[citation needed]

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),[7] and the Reserve Force. North Luzon Force included the 11th, 21st, and 31st Divisions, all reserve.[8] South Luzon Force include the 1st (regular) Division, and the 41st, 51st, and 71st (reserve) Divisions.[9] These divisions were incorporated into the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).[10] The equipment of these units included: Canon de 155mm GPF; 75 mm Gun M1917; 2.95 inch QF Mountain 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 surrender of the Filipino and American forces in the Philippines in May 1942, independent guerrilla groups, composed of both civilian and military personnel, began to form throughout the Islands. Many of these groups worked under the control of General Douglas MacArthur's General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area.

Service of the Philippine Army as part of the United States Armed Forces terminated as of midnight, June 30, 1947, by authority of General Order #168, Army Forces Western Pacific.[6] 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.[11] 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.

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 Mechanized Infantry Division.

Philippine Army Staff Sgt. Manolo Martin demonstrates the proper method of holding a cobra during a survival course in the Balikatan Exercise 2008.

The functions of the Philippine Army are:[12]

  • 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.

Regular units

The Philippine Army has several regular units dedicated to counter-insurgency and conventional army operations.


Armor and cavalry

Combat support units

  • 51st Engineering Brigade, PA
  • 52nd Engineering Brigade, PA
  • 53rd Engineering Brigade, PA
  • 54th Engineering Brigade, PA
  • 55th Engineering Brigade, PA
  • Army Signal Regiment
  • Army Artillery Regiment
  • Civil-Military Operations Group
  • Intelligence Security Group

Service support units

Special units

The Philippine Army has a number of units dedicated to special operations. These units report directly to the Philippine Army Special Operations Command

File:Special Force.jpg
Philippine Army Special Forces freefall jumpers with Special Operations Command, stationed at Fort Magsaysay


The list of all military bases in the Philippines

Luzon Visayas Mindanao
Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Metro Manila Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City Camp Basilio Navarro, Zamboanga City
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila Camp Sergio Osmena, Sr., Cebu City Camp Felix Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City
Camp Gen. Rigoberto Atienza, Libis Quezon City Camp Gen. Macario G. Peralta, Jr., Jamindan, Capiz Camp BGen. Edilberto Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro
Camp Marcelo Adduro, Caggay, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Camp Jizmundo, Banga, Aklan Camp Major Cesar L. Sang-an, Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur
Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz, Upi Gamu, Isabela Camp Gen. Adriano Hernandez, Dingle, Iloilo Camp Natividad, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
Fort Gregorio Del Pilar, Baguio City Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City Camp Osito Bahian, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon
Camp Oscar Florendo, Parian, San Fernando, La Union Camp Monteclaro, Miag-ao, Iloilo Camp Ranao, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur
Camp Lt. Tito Abat, Manaoag, Pangasinan Camp Tirambulo, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental Camp Allere, Salvador, Lanao del Norte
Camp Servillano Aquino Tarlac City, Tarlac Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City, Negros Oriental Camp Duma Sinsuat, Barira, Maguindanao
Camp O'Donnell, Sta. Lucia, Capas, Tarlac Camp Fernandez, Angan-an, Sibulan, Negros Oriental Camp BGen Gonzalo H. Siongco, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao
Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Palayan, Nueva Ecija Camp Ruperto Kangleon Palo, Leyte Camp Lucero, Carmen, Cotabato
Camp Tinio, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija Camp Downes Military Reservation, Ormoc City, Leyte Camp Gen. Paulino Santos, Alamada, Cotabato
Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan, Bulacan Camp Vicente Lukban, Catbalogan, Western Samar Camp BGen. Hermenegildo Agaab, Malungon, Sarangani
Camp Gen. Mateo Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal Camp Overton, Suarez, Iligan City
Camp Riego de Dios, Tanza, Cavite Camp Fermin Lira, Jr., General Santos City, South Cotabato
Camp Guillermo Nakar, Lucena City, Quezon Torrey Barracks, Malabang, Lanao del Sur
Camp Gen. Alfredo M. Santos, Calauag, Quezon Camp Amai Pakpak, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur
Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur Camp Cabunbata, Isabela City, Basilan
Camp Weene Martillana, San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur
Camp Simeon Ola, Legazpi City, Albay
Camp Eldridge, Los Baños, Laguna

Major equipment

The Philippine Army makes use of different kinds of equipment in its arsenal like pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, machine guns, grenades, grenade launchers, mortars, anti-tank weapons, night vision devices, force protection equipments, combat radios, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, utility vehicles, field ambulances, howitzers, surveillance aircraft and assault boats.

Future acquisitions

Main article: AFP Modernization Act

Combat vehicles

Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)

The Philippine Army is expecting delivery of 114 M113A2 armored personnel carriers from the ex-US Army stocks, which are expected to arrive before the end of 2015.[15] These are part of an earlier request by the Philippine government which was approved by the DSCA in 2012.[16] Another batch of 28 M113A2, which includes 14 units to be armed with 76 mm turrets taken from decommissioned FV101 Scorpion tanks and fitted with modern fire control and thermal imaging equipment,[17] 10 M113A2 with a Remote Controlled Weapons system (6 with 12.7mm machine guns, 4 with 25mm autocannons), and 4 armored recovery vehicles.[18] These modifications will be made by Israeli company Elbit Systems Land and C4I before delivery of the 1st batch of 18 units will be on June while the second batch of 10 units will be on July in 2015.[19]

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

Rifles and handguns

A joint purchase with the Philippine Marine Corps for around 50,000 new rifles based on M16/M4/AR-15 platform and 5,500 close combat optics is underway, to replace the older M16A1 still in service on both armed forces branches.[20]

On May 4, 2013, the Department of National Defense (DND) has declared the United States-based Remington company the winning bidder to supply 50,629 pieces of M4 rifles, according to the Philippine representative of the company.[21] On Dec 2, 2013 Remington announced that it has been awarded, a $47 million initial contract, to supply and deliver R4 carbines with accessories and training by the AFP.[22] On 18 March 2014, the Philippine Army confirmed the purchase of 63,000 new-built M4 carbines for P2.4 billion, with the rifles costing P38,402 each. The M4s are part of an effort to replace the Army's Vietnam-era automatic rifles.[23] July 2014, deliveries have begun.[24]


Acquisition of around Php 40 Million (~$1 million) worth of hand grenades was also announced, involving 11,364 smoke grenades and 11,460 fragmentation grenades. Budget allocated are Php 19.944 million and Php 19.998 million, respectively.[25]

Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG)

In January 2014, the Philippine Army ordered 400 Airtronic RPG-7s from the United States to replace their obsolete M18 and M67 recoilless rifles. The Airtronic RPG-7 is 60 percent lighter than the recoilless rifles and deliveries are to be completed by the end of the year.[26]

Heavy weapons


A previous requirement for 100 units of 81mm mortar,[27] 335 units of rocket launchers/light anti-tank weapons, 18 units 155 mm towed howitzers with 5-ton truck prime movers was announced in 2008.[28] plus night fighting systems.[29] The Serbian-made M69B 81mm mortar was selected for the mortar requirement which were completely delivered in 2013,[30] while the 155mm towed howitzers requirements were revised. The acquisition for shoulder fired rocket launchers and night fighting systems are still in process.

A plan to acquire 100 M113-derived VCC-1 APCs and 25 FH-70 155mm howitzers from Italy as part of a deal for further purchase of Italian armaments was announced in November, 2012.[31] The FH-70 were supposed to fill in the 155mm towed howitzer requirement announced as early as 2008. But this plan was cancelled as the package to acquire used Italian arms did not materialize.

In December 2013, an announcement for public bidding to purchase Php 700 million worth of howitzers and ammunition was made. This is to replace FH-70s included in the cancelled Italian arms package deal. The acquisition consists of 12 units of 155mm Towed Howitzer (6 for the Army, 6 for the Marine Corps) and 240 rounds of 155mm High Explosive (HE) ammunition rounds with an approved budget of Php 438.6 million. The other project, which has a budget of Php 303.8 million, is for acquisition of 5,990 nos. of 25mm rounds, 43,578 nos. of 40mm rounds, and 4,500 nos. of 105mm howitzer ammunition and other explosives. The Department of National Defense opened the bidding for 12 units of 155 mm howitzers and 240 rounds of projectiles worth of P438.6 million. The acquisition will boost the existing howitzers in its inventory but were outdated.[32][33] On 1 April 2014, Israeli company Elbit Systems won the bid and will deliver 12 Soltam ATHOS towed artillery pieces.[34]

Missile systems

Shore-to-Ship Missiles (SSM)

The DND plans to acquire a shore-based missile system with a budget of Php 6.5 billion that will be placed under the control and supervision of the Army.[35] 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.[36]

Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM)

The DND has shown interest to purchase of surface-to-air missiles from Israel for the Philippine Army.[37] Offers were made by Israel-based companies Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Israel Military Industries Ltd..[38]

The DND has also shown interest to acquire the HAWK-5 variant of Raytheon Corporation's MIM-23 HAWK SAM system to complement and protect the shore-to-ship launchers the government also intends to acquire.[36]


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

The Philippine Army has allotted 1.5 million pesos for its development of its 3rd Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The UAV will be an enhanced version of the Philippine Army's first two drones, the "Raptor" and the "Knight Falcon".[39]

Engineering equipment

It was reported that the Philippine Army is planning to acquire P530 million worth of disaster response equipment that includes 6 units of road rollers, 30 units of dump trucks, 14 units of excavators, 8 units of road graders, and 12 units of dozers.[40]

Force protection equipment

Another joint purchase with the Philippine Marine Corps is for around 44,000 new body armor or force protection equipment,[41] composed of basic vest, plate inserts and soft-ballistic panel and weighing between 5.8 kilograms to 6.8 kg.[42]


  1. ^ "Death Toll For U.S.-Led Coalition in Iraq". CNN. July 9, 2004. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  2. ^ a b Jose, Ricardo Trota (1992). The Philippine Army: 1935 - 1942. Ateneo University Press. pp. 23–49. ISBN 978-971-550-081-4. 
  3. ^ "Commonwealth Act No. 1". Philippine Laws, Statutes, and Codes. Chan Robles Law Library. December 21, 1935. 
  4. ^ a b U.S. Army in World War II: Fall of the Philippines, Chapter 1
  5. ^ Jose 1992, pp. 191–210.
  6. ^ a b "Philippine Army and Guerrilla Records". 3 July 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Niehorster,
  8. ^ Leo Niehorster, North Luzon Force, accessed January 2014. See also Major Rolando Pesano, 'A Brief History of the 31st Division, Philippine Army.' Brig Gen William E. Brougher was assigned to command the 11th Division in September 1941.
  9. ^ Leo Niehorster
  10. ^ Jose 1992, pp. 210–214.
  11. ^ "Executive Order No. 94 s. 1947". Philippine Government. 
  12. ^ "Mission of the Philippine Army". Philippine Army Website. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Mechanized Infantry Division website". OG6, CISO, MECH DIV PA. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  14. ^ "SOCOM welcomes activation of new Regiment - ZamboTimes". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Untitled Document
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Army to boost fire support with 14 APCs". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Invitation to Bid- Assault Rifles & Close Combat Optics". PhilGEPS Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System. 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  21. ^ US-based Remington wins bid to supply 50,000 M4 rifles for AFP, company rep says -
  22. ^ "Philippine Military Awards Rifle Contract to Remington Defense". The Outdoor Wire. 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  23. ^ Philippine Army has confirmed the purchase of 63,000 M-4 assault rifles -, 19 March 2014
  24. ^ "Remington R4 Adopted By Philippine Army - The Firearm Blog". The Firearm Blog. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  25. ^ "Armed Forces to acquire grenades worth $1m". Department of National Defense (Philippines). Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  26. ^ Philippines acquires RPG-7 (USA) for anti-armour operations -, 13 January 2014
  27. ^ "Invitation to Bid for 81mm Mortar Acquisition Project" (PDF). Department of National Defense (Philippines). 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  28. ^ Salarzon, JB: Special Report : P8 Billion na ang nagastos sa modernisasyon ng Army , Abante / Abante Tonight, August 2008,
  29. ^ "Army chief unveils more gear for troops". ABS-CBN News. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  30. ^ "Philippines Army increases its fire support capability with new Serbian-made 81mm mortar 2312133 - Army Recognition". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  31. ^ "DND eyes 100 new APCs from Italy". 
  32. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ "Defense set to acquire P700-M howitzers, ammunitions". ABS-CBN News. 2013-12-01. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  34. ^ Israeli Company Elbit Systems to provide 12 155mm towed howitzer Soltam Athos to Philippines - 1 April 2014
  35. ^ "PHL to acquire shore-based missile system". ZamboTimes. 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  36. ^ a b "Gov’t eyes enhanced HAWK surface-to-air missiles". Manila Bulletin. 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  37. ^ "AFP chief leads pledge to defend sovereignty amid internal, external challenges". June 12, 2013. 
  38. ^ "PH plans to tap Israel for missile launchers". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  39. ^ Mallari, Mario J. (2013-12-21). "Army allots P1.5M for dev’t of its own drone". The Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  40. ^ "Army to buy P530-M disaster response equipment". The Philippine Star. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  41. ^ "DND to purchase P1.7-B worth of body armors". ABS-CBN News. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  42. ^ "DND wants US testing for soldiers’ protection kits". Business Mirror. 2013-03-31. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 

External links