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Philippine Army
Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas
Philippine Army Emblem
Founded March 22, 1897
Country Republic of the Philippines
Type Army
Size approximately 113,500 regular[citation needed]
approximately 120,000 reserve[citation needed]
Part of Armed Forces of the Philippines
Garrison/HQ Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila
Motto "At your service, across the land"
Anniversaries March 22
Engagements Philippine Revolution
Spanish-American War
Philippine-American War
World War II
Hukbalahap Rebellion
Korean War
Vietnam War
Persian Gulf War[1]
Iraq War[2]
Communist Insurgencies
Islamic Insurgencies
Commander of the Philippine Army LG REYNALDO B MAPAGU AFP

The Philippine Army (PA) is the ground arm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Its official name in Filipino is Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas. As of 2008, General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. served as Chief of Staff of the AFP.[3] Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado replaced Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, former commanding general of the Philippine Army, who took over from Hermogenes Esperon on May 12, 2008. Ibrado is the former chief of the Armed Forces Central Command (Centcom), Visayas.[4] On April 30, 2009 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Lt. Gen. Delfin N. Bangit as the new commanding general to succeed Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado who became the 39th chief of staff of armed forces.



The Philippine Army does not have a strong collective military tradition. In earlier times, Spain and the United States had been ruling the Philippine Islands. Neither allowed the Filipino troops to gain control of responsibility.

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 birth 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 an 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. The act specified that in so far as may be practicable, original appointments by the President in grades above third lieutenant shall be made from among those formerly holding Reserve Commissions in the United States Army, from among former officers of the Philippine Scouts and Constabulary, from among former officers of the National Guard and from such others who possess exceptional ability or special training and skill.[5]

A decade later, with the threat of war with Japan imminent, on 1941-07-26, a new U.S. command in the Far East was created, known as the United States Army Forces Far East (USAFFE). On the same date, President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, issued Presidential Order (6 Fed. Reg. 3825) which called the Philippine Commonwealth Army into the service of the Armed Forces of the United States[6]. With an annual appropriation of 16 million pesos, it trained new Filipino members in defending the nation and protecting its people.

The Presidential Order of July 26, 1941 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). Only those members of a unit who physically reported for duty were inducted. (Inductions were not automatic, nor were personnel inducted into the Army of the United States) [6].[citation needed]

When World War II broke out in 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 Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. 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; 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. A recognized military force is defined as a force under a commander who has been appointed, designated or recognized by a general officer of the United States Army.

Service of the Philippine Commonwealth Army in the service of the United States Armed Forces terminated as of midnight, 1947-06-30, by authority of General Order #168, Army Forces Western Pacific[6].

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.

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. The army spared five battalions which comprised the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) to fulfill its pledge to uphold the struggle for democracy. The Philippine Civic Action Group to Vietnam (PhilCAGV) was sent to South Vietnam on a mission of peace, where army engineers helped build communities and army doctors and nurses provided medical services to the people.

Under the leadership of Brigadier General Leoncio S. Tan the Philippine Army established its separate headquarters on July 10, 1957. The onset of the sixties ushered an expansion of the army's roles, which include participation in the socio-economic programs of the country, among others.

To achieve greater flexibility and effectiveness, infantry divisions took the place of the military areas in the seventies. On September 21, 1972, the Martial Law era began. During the decade, military operations supported by civic action blocked the escalation of insurgency.

The onset of the eighties saw the birth of the Special Operations Team (SOT) strategy which is aimed to isolate the insurgents from the civilian population, and dismantle the communist political organizations, neutralizing and denying them control of barangays all over the country.

Aside from counterinsurgency campaigns, the SOT plays an additional role in national development. Together with local government officials, SOT identifies problems and helps provide assistance in areas that lack needed vital facilities and service like roads, bridges, schools, health and sanitation, livelihood, etc. Because of its effectiveness in quelling insurgency, this strategy is being adopted not only by the Army but by the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Major Equipment

Armored Vehicles
United Kingdom FV101 Scorpion CVR(T) - 42 units received.[7]
United States Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle IFV - 45 units received[8]
United States M113 APC - Received over 100 units. At least one unit has been modified with the addition of a turret from a Scorpion CVR(T) to act as a fire support vehicle, while some vehicles have been provided with ACAV sets.[citation needed]
Turkey ACV-300 APC - Received 6 units, commissioned January 2010[9]
United States Armored Recovery Vehicle - based on the AIFV, purchased in 2005 as part of the AFP modernization program.[10]
United Kingdom FV104 Samaritan - Ambulance - 6 units received[7]
United Kingdom FV106 Samson - Amoured Recovery Vehicle - 3 units received[7]
United Kingdom GKN Simba APC- 150 units received[11]
United States V-100/V-150 Commando APC - 150 units received
Utility Vehicles
United States Humvee
United States M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck
Japan Mitsubishi Fuso Fighter FK Series
Japan Mitsubishi L200
South Korea Kia KM450
Philippines Delta Mini Cruiser[12]
Philippines CMC Cruiser
Japan Suzuki Multi-cab
United States M151 MUTT
United States M880
United States Beechraft 80 Queen Air - 3 units received[citation needed]
United States Cessna 421 Golden Eagle[13] - 2 units received[citation needed]
United States Cessna 206 Super Skylane - 2 units received[citation needed]
United States Cessna 172 Skyhawk[14] - 1 units received[citation needed]
Italy Polaris Motor SRL - 2 units received[citation needed]
United States M114 155 mm howitzer - 12 units received
United States M101 howitzer
United States M29 Mortar
United States M2 Mortar
United States M30 107 mm Mortar
Italy OTO Melara Mod 56
Anti-tank weapons
United States M40 recoilless rifle
United States M67 recoilless rifle
United States M20 recoilless rifle
United States M72 LAW
West Germany Armbrust
Light Infantry Weapons
United States M16 Rifle- Assault Rifle
United States M4 Carbine- Assault Carbine
United States M14 Rifle- Assault Rifle
United States CAR15- Assault Rifle
Austria Steyr AUG - Assault Rifle
Germany Heckler & Koch MP5 - Submachine Gun[15]
Germany Heckler & Koch G36 - Assault Rifle[15]
United States M60- General Purpose Machine Gun
South Korea Daewoo K3 - Light Machine Gun
Singapore Ultimax 100 - Light Machine Gun
United States M249 SAW - Light Machine Gun
United States M21- Sniper Weapon System
United States M203- Rifle-mounted Grenade Launcher
United States M79- Standalone Grenade Launcher
United States Barrett M82A1 & M107 - Anti-material Rifle
Italy Beretta 92 - Semiautomatic Pistol[citation needed]
Italy Benelli M1 Super 90 - Shotgun
Italy Benelli M3 - Shotgun
United States M1911 - Semiautomatic Pistol
United States Remington 11-87 - Shotgun[citation needed]
United States Remington 1100 - Shotgun[citation needed]


The functions of the Philippine Army are to:

  • 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 & Cavalry

Combat Support Units

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

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

See also


  1. ^, Gulf War,, retrieved 2008-07-04 
  2. ^, Death Toll For U.S.-Led Coalition in Iraq,, retrieved 2008-07-04 
  3. ^ "ADROTH Project: Star Tracker". Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  4. ^, New Army chief named
  5. ^ Commonwealth Act No. 1, The National Defense Act, Approved December 21, 1935, Chanrobles Law Library.
  6. ^ a b c The National Archives; National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis: Philippine Army and Guerrilla Records
  7. ^ a b c Light Armored Division Official Website
  8. ^ BAE Systems, Ground Systems Division Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle in Jane's Armour and Artillery, Oct 04, 2007
  9. ^ Philippine Army website Philippine Army acquires Upgraded Armored Personnel Carriers
  10. ^ "AFP acquires Armor Recovery Vehicle (ARV)". AFP. 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  11. ^ Simba Light Combat Vehicle in Jane's Armour and Artillery, Dec 20, 2007
  12. ^ Le MINI CRUISER de DELTA MOTOR CORP., seen Sep 24, 2008
  13. ^ "Army chief unhurt as plane loses brakes". 2006-12-27. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  14. ^ "Photographs of Cessna 172 #101 in Philippine Army colors, with roundel". 2007-11-05.,9979.0.html. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  15. ^ a b GERMAN FIREARMS IN THE PHILIPPINES by Roman Deckert, seen Sep 24, 2008
  • 53rd PC Anniversary Yearbook, 1954 Edition

External links

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