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Philippine Army
Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas
Ejército Filipino
1200px-Seal of the Philippine Army.svg.png
Seal of the Philippine Army
Founded March 22, 1897; ago (1897-03-22)[1]
Country  Philippines
Allegiance Republic of the Philippines
Type Army
Size 95,000[citation needed] (active) 76,500[citation needed] (ready reserve)
Part of Armed Forces of the Philippines
Garrison/HQ Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Motto(s) "Serving the people. Securing the land." "For our country we will give all."
Mascot(s) Musang (Civet)
Anniversaries March 22, Army Day
Engagements Philippine Revolution
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
World War II
Hukbalahap Rebellion
Korean War
Vietnam War
Persian Gulf War
Iraq War[2]
Operation Enduring Freedom
Communist Insurgencies
Islamic Insurgencies
Manila Peninsula siege
Battle of Marawi
Battle of Zamboanga
February 2016 Butig clash
November 2016 Butig clash
Marawi crisis
Commanding General of the Philippine Army US-O9 insignia.svg Lt. Gen. Jose C. Faustino, Jr., AFP
Flag Flag of the Philippine Army.svg
Battledress identification patch Philippine Army Battledress patch.svg

The Philippine Army (PA), (Filipino official name Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas), is the main branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) responsible for ground warfare


The Philippine Army was initially organized under the National Defense Act of 1935 (Commonwealth Act No. 1) from among former holders of reserve commissions in the United States Army, from among former officers of the Philippine Scouts and Constabulary.[3][4]

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 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.[3]

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). 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. These divisions were incorporated into the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.[7] 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. 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 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 the Armed Forces of the Philippines.[8] 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 PA 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.


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:[9]

  • 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
  • Army Signal Regiment
  • Army Artillery Regiment
  • Civil-Military Operations Group
  • Army Intelligence Regiment

Service support units

  • Philippine Army Reserve Command
  • Philippine Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • Philippine Army Support Command
  • Finance Center, Philippine Army
  • Philippine Army Nurse Corps
  • Philippine Army Medical Corps
  • Philippine Army Security and Escort Battalion

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


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, Makati 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, Malaybalay City, 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, Lanao del Norte
Camp Riego de Dios, Tanza, Cavite Camp Fermin Lira, Jr., General Santos City, South Cotabato
Camp Guillermo Nakar, Lucena City, Quezon Torrey Barracks
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

Future acquisitions

The Department of National Defense (Philippines) is planning to acquire 100 M113 APCs and 25 FH-70 155mm howitzers from Italy as part of a deal for further purchase of Italian armaments, although this is not final.[11]

The Philippine Army is expecting delivery of 114 M113A2 armored personnel carriers from the ex-US Army stocks, which are expected by 2013.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

Another joint purchase with the Philippine Marine Corps is for around 44,000 new body armor or force protection equipment,[15] composed of basic vest, plate inserts and soft-ballistic panel and weighing between 5.8 kilograms to 6.8 kg.[16]

There is an ongoing bid for 100 units of 81mm mortar,[17] 335 units of rocket launchers/light anti-tank weapons, 18 units 155 mm towed howitzers with 5-ton truck prime movers[18] and night fighting systems.[19]

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will acquire close to P40 Million ($1M) worth of hand grenades to be used for security operations. A bid bulletin published in The STAR showed that the AFP will acquire 11,364 smoke grenades and 11,460 fragmentation grenades. The government has allotted P19.944m for the smoke grenades and P19.998m for the fragmentation grenades. The opening of bids will be on May 20 at the AFP Bids and Awards Committee Conference Room in Camp Aguinaldo.[20]

Sources say the Department of National Defense is also “in the thick of negotiations” for the purchase of ground-to-air missiles from Israel, reported for the Philippine Army.[21]

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.

Command Structure

These men and women of the Philippine Army (PA) will report to the following:

  • The President of the Philippines as Commander-in-Chief.
  • the National Security Adviser (with the rank of "Secretary").
  • the Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs (with the rank of "Secretary").
  • the Secretary of National Defense (SND) through:
    • the Senior Military Assistant to SND, Department of National Defense (DND).
    • the Undersecretary of National Defense.
    • the Undersecretary for Defense Operations, Department of National Defense (DND).
    • the Undersecretary for Defense Policy, Department of National Defense (DND).
  • the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP) (with the rank of "General") through:
    • the Vice Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philppines (VCSAFP) (with the rank of "Lieutenant General").
    • the Deputy Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (DCSAFP) (with any branch from the AFP).
  • the Commanding General, Philippine Army (CGPA) (with the rank of "Lieutenant General) through:
    • the Vice Commandant, Philippine Army (VCPA) (with the rank of "Major General").
    • the Chief of Staff, Philippine Army (CSPA) (with the rank of "Major General").
    • the Sergeant Major, Philippine Army (SMPA) (with the rank of "Senior Master Sergeant").


  1. December 21, 1935 (formerly the Philippine Commonwealth Army)
    March 22, 1897 (Traditional, from the Ejército Revolucionario Filipino)
  2. "Death Toll For U.S.-Led Coalition in Iraq". CNN. July 9, 2004. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jose, Ricardo Trota (1992). The Philippine Army: 1935 - 1942. Ateneo University Press. pp. 23–49. ISBN 978-971-550-081-4. 
  4. "Commonwealth Act No. 1". Philippine Laws, Statutes, and Codes. Chan Robles Law Library. December 21, 1935. 
  5. Jose 1992, pp. 191–210.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The National Archives; National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis: Philippine Army and Guerrilla Records
  7. Jose 1992, pp. 210–214.
  8. "Executive Order No. 94 s. 1947". Philippine Government. 
  9. "Mission of the Philippine Army". Philippine Army Website. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  10. "Mechanized Infantry Division website". OG6, CISO, MECH DIV PA. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  11. "DND eyes 100 new APCs from Italy". 
  12. Gordon, Arthur: Interview: Lieutenant General Noel Abrigo Coballes, Commanding General of the Philippine Army , Jane's Defense Weekly, 13 June 2013.
  13. "Invitation to Bid- Assault Rifles & Close Combat Optics". PhilGEPS Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System. 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  15. "DND to purchase P1.7-B worth of body armors". ABS-CBN News. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  16. "DND wants US testing for soldiers’ protection kits". Business Mirror. 2013-03-31. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  17. "Invitation to Bid for 81mm Mortar Acquisition Project". Department of National Defense (Philippines). 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  18. Salarzon, JB: Special Report : P8 Billion na ang nagastos sa modernisasyon ng Army , Abante / Abante Tonight, August 2008.
  19. "Army chief unveils more gear for troops". ABS-CBN News. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  20. "Armed Forces to acquire grenades worth $1m". Department of National Defense (Philippines). Retrieved May 3, 2013. 
  21. "AFP chief leads pledge to defend sovereignty amid internal, external challenges". June 12, 2013. 

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