Armed Forces of the Philippines: Wikis


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Armed Forces of the Philippines
Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas
AFP 3D.png
Emblem of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Founded March 22, 1897
Service branches Philippine Army
Philippine Navy
Philippine Air Force
Headquarters Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Commander-in-Chief Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Secretary of National Defense Norberto Gonzales
Chief of Staff General Delfin Bangit
Military age 19–56 years old
Active personnel 113,500
Reserve personnel 131,000
Deployed personnel Paramilitary: 158,500

Total: 403,000

Related articles
History Philippine Revolution
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Communist Insurgencies
Islamic Insurgencies
Ranks Second Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
Lieutenant Colonel
Brigadier General

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) (Filipino: Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas) is composed of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force. The AFP is a volunteer force and has a total active strength of 113,500 with 131,000 personnel in reserve. The AFP leadership consists of the Chief of Staff (Gen. Victor Ibrado), Vice Chief of Staff (Lt. Gen. Cardozo M. Luna), and Deputy Chief of Staff (Lt. Gen. Rodrigo F. Maclang). However, former Army Commanding General (Lt. Gen. Delfin N. Bangit) replaced Gen. Victor Ibrado as the Cheif of Staff last March 10, 2010. Lt. Gen. Delfin N. Bangit is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Makatarungan Class of 1978, which President Gloria M. Arroyo is a adopted member. Lt. Gen. Delfin N. Bangit is known to be one of the closest persons to GMA. On May 1, 2009 Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado succeeded Gen. Alexander B. Yano as the 39th chief of staff of the armed forces.[1]



The official birth of the Armed Forces of the Philippines took place with the passage of the National Defense Act, Commonwealth Act No. 1, on December 21, 1935.[2] 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 Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

Philippine–American War

Initially, after declaring independence in 1898, the Philippine government took on a dictatorial form. This was replaced by a revolutionary government headed by Emilio Aguinaldo as president on June 23, 1898. The First Philippine Republic was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 23, 1899. When it became apparent that the United States had no intention of recognizing the newly-establish Republic, the Philippine–American War erupted with a declaration of war by the Philippines on the United States.[3][4] The Philippine Revolutionary Forces, which lacked sufficient armor and ammunition, lost many battles. By 1901, the Filipinos had completely lost the war.

In 1901, the United States established the Philippine Scouts and the Philippine Constabulary for purpose of assisting in combating the remnants of the revolutionaries. The AFP was formally organized during the American Commonwealth era through the National Defense Act of 1935 (CommonwealthAct Number 1).

Philippine Commonwealth

During the Philippine Commonwealth era, President Manuel L. Quezon, the first president of the Commonwealth, renamed the Philippine Army to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and asked Gen. Douglas MacArthur, to be its first commanding officer after the Philippines gained independence from the U.S. MacArthur accepted the offer and became the only person of foreign citizenship to be in the ranks of AFP. MacArthur held the rank of Field Marshal, a rank no other person has since held in the AFP. MacArthur expanded the Philippine armed forces, but they were unready for combat at the start of the Pacific War in December 1941 and unable to defeat the Japanese invasion of the Philippines.

During World War II, all soldiers of the Philippine military were incorporated in the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), with MacArthur appointed as its commander. USAFFE made its last stand on Corregidor Island in the Philippines, after which Japanese forces were able to force all remaining Filipino and American troops to surrender. After Japan was defeated in World War II, the Philippines gained its independence (its second independence – the Philippines recognizes Aguinaldo's declaration of independence in 1898 as its original year of independence). The Philippines and the United States have since maintained a tight and mutual relationship, making the AFP one of the strongest militaries in Asia from the 1950s through the 1970s.[5]

Organization and branches

The 1987 Philippine Constitution puts 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 branches: the Philippine ArmyHukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas, Philippine NavyHukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas and Philippine Air ForceHukbong Himpapawid ng Pilipinas. These three major branches are unified under a Chief of Staff who normally holds the rank of General. He is assisted by a Vice Chief of Staff (Lieutenant General) and a Deputy Chief of Staff (Major General). The three major branches are each 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).

Unified commands

Units from these three services may be assigned to one of several "Unified Commands", which are multi-service, regional entities:[6]

AFP-wide support and separate units

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

Military ranks

Ranks of officers in Philippine Military are usually pronounced in Filipino. in which they adapt the military ranks from U.S. Military. The following officer ranks are as follows: [7][8]

  • Pangalawang Tenyente (Second Lieutenant),
  • Unang Tenyente (First Lieutenant),
  • Kapitan (Captain),
  • Magat (Major),
  • Tenyente Koronel (Lieutenant Colonel),
  • Koronel (Colonel),
  • Brigadyer Heneral (Brigadier General),
  • Magat Heneral (Major General),
  • Tenyente Heneral (Lieutenant General),
  • Heneral (General)

These ranks are officially applied in Philippine Army, Air force and Marine Corps in which these pronunciations are actually adaptation from Spanish and English language except, for the words "pangalawang" and "unang" which came from original tagalog pronunciation.

In Philippine Navy however, to pronounce the officer ranks in Filipino, it is just the same in English in which they adapt the ranks from U.S. and British Royal navies. Although, there are some ranks that can be translated and officially pronounce in Filipino that are in parenthesis. The ranks are as follows:[citation needed]

  • Ensign
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade (Tenyente na Mabababang Baitang)
  • Lieutenant or Lieutenant Senior Grade (Tenyente or Tenyente na Mataas na Baitang)
  • Lieutenant Commander (Tenyente Kumander)
  • Commander (Kumander)
  • Captain (Kapitan)
  • Commodore
  • Rear Admiral
  • Vice Admiral(Bise Admiral)
  • Admiral

The alternative style of address for the ranks of Lieutenant Junior Grade and Lieutenant Senior Grade in Filipino is simply tenyente because, it is too redundant if you address them fully in Filipino. It is also the same as Second and First Lieutenants in the Army, Air force and Marine Corps.

The ranks of enlisted personnel in Filipino is just the same as its U.S. counterpart but, they never use "Specialist","Sergeant First Class", "First Sergeant"(for Philippine Army and Air Force except Marine Corps),"Lance Corporal","Gunnery Sergeant" "Master Gunnery Sergeant" in Philippine Army and Marine Corps. It is simply they start to address their ranks from Private Second Class up to Sergeant Major.

In Philippine Air Force, they also use Airman Second Class up to Chief Master Sergeant the same as its U.S. counterpart.

In Philippine Navy, they also use enlisted ranks coming from U.S. Navy with its specialization.

For Example: "Master Chief and Boatswain's mate Juan Dela Cruz, PN" (Philippine Navy).

The alternative style to address the non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel in Filipino are: From Private Second Class up to Private First Class it is pribeyt or mga pribeyt for a group of privates that is adaptive in English. Kabo for corporal adaptive from the word "cabo" in Spanish but the most common is korporal (except air force they use airman or airmen and airwoman or airwomen from Airman Second Class up to Senior Airman).Sarhento for sergeants in Army, Air force and Marine Corps also adpative from the word "sargento" in Spanish.

In Navy, the original Filipino alternative style for Seaman or Seawoman Apprentice up to Seaman or Seawoman First Class is mandaragat or mga mandaragat for a group seamen and seawomen. For petty officers, they call it P.O.'s and tsip for chief (petty) officers up to Master Chief (Petty) officers.

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

Five Star General/Admiral

President Ferdinand Marcos, who acted also as national defense secretary (from 1965-1967 and 1971-1972), issued an order conferring the five star general/admiral 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 office of the president the most senior military official. [9]

The only career military officer who reached the five-star general/admiral 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.[10]

Capacity to Handle Threats

In 2007, The Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, reported that the AFP is one of the weakest military forces in Southeast Asia, saying that as the country's primary security threats are land-based—separatist, communist insurgent and terrorist groups—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.[11] 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 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."[12]

A Mutual Defense Treaty has been in effect between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States since 1951.

See also


  1. ^ "New Philippine Army chief named". ABS-CBN News Online. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  2. ^ COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 1: The National Defense Act, Chanrobles law library, December 21, 1935,, retrieved 2008-10-24 
  3. ^ Halstead, Murat (1898), "XXVIII. Battles with the Filipinos before Manila", The Story of the Philippines and Our New Possessions, Including the Ladrones, Hawaii, Cuba and Porto Rico, p. 318, 
  4. ^ Kalaw, Maximo Manguiat (1927), "VII. The Opposition to American Sovereignty (1898-1901)", The Development of Philippine Politics, Oriental commercial, p. 199,, retrieved 2008-02-07 
  5. ^ Armed Forces of the Philippines - Military Portal
  6. ^ "AFP Organization". Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  7. ^ Shoulder Ranks (Officers), The Philippine Army.
  8. ^ Philippine Military Rank Insignia,
  9. ^ Ferdinand E. Marcos, Malacañang Museum.
  10. ^ Fidel V. Ramos, Malacañang Museum.
  11. ^ "The Triborder Sea Area: Maritime Southeast Asia's Ungoverned Space". The Jamestown Foundation. October 24, 2007. 
  12. ^ Jim Gomez (AP, Manila) (June 4, 2008). "Philippine Military Chief Says Armed Forces Not Strong Enough". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  • 53rd PC Anniversary Yearbook, 1954 Edition

External links

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