The ground force of the Philippines Armed forces is called the Philippines Army (PA). The headquarters or the garrison of the Philippines Army is Fort Bonifacio, located at Taguig City in Metro Manila. “At your service, across the land” is the motto of this ground force of the Philippines Army and is the first one of the three armed forces to spring up in the island nation of Philippines. The Philippines Army’s vision is to build a World-Class Army that is a Source of National Pride by the year 2028. Their main focus and mission is to organize, train, deploy, equip, and sustain ground forces in support of the AFP mission. The Philippines Army is regarded to be one of the oldest army units of the world and was founded on March 22, 1897. Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas is the official name of the Philippines Army in Tagalog. LTG Arturo B. Ortiz, AFP is the Commanding General of the Philippine Army who was appointed by the Filipino President Benigno Aquino III on July 23rd 2010. A total of about 1,200,000 active personnel are there at the disposal of the Philippines navy at any time.
History of the Philippines Army
The Battle of Mactan on April 27th 1521 pronounced the inaugural devised opposition of the Filipinos against alien encroachers. Lapu-Lapu, a headman of Mactan Island, got the better of Spanish colonizer Ferdinand Magellan.The Philippine Revolution commenced in August 1896, on the uncovering of the anti-colonial mysterious establishment Katipunan by the Spanish agencies. The Katipunan, guided by Andrés Bonifacio, was a secessionist campaign and shadow governance circulated throughout most of the islands whose destination was independence from Spain through weapon rebellion. In a mass assembling in Caloocan, the Katipunan leaders prepared themselves into a radical government activity and openly announced a across the nation armed revolution. Bonifacio demanded a concurrent coordinated assault on the capital Manila. This attempt went wrong, but the bordering states as well arose in rebellion. Particularly, rebels in Cavite directed by Emilio Aguinaldo succeeded in gaining early victories. A major power conflict amidst the revolutionists led to Bonifacio’s execution in 1897, with control changing over to Aguinaldo who headed his own revolutionary governance. That year, an armistice was formally accomplished with the treaty of Biak-na-Bato and Aguinaldo was deported to Hong Kong, although hostilities between insurgents and the Spanish government never really ended. Just about a year after the eruption of enemities between the Katipuneros and the Spanish scout groups, the Filipino Revolutionary Government and its Army were born on March 22, 1897 at Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabon in Cavite. General Artemio Ricarte was appointed Captain General of the revolutionary Philippine Army. This date marks the establishing day of the contemporary Philippine Army.
The 1st combat in the Filipino theater was in Manila Bay, where, on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey, controlling the U.S.A. Asian Squadron onboard the USS Olympia, in a matter of few hours, overcame the Spanish squadron, under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón resulting in George Dewey’s personnel suffering only a lone casualty.
After the combat, Dewey barricaded Manila and offered transport for Emilio Aguinaldo to come back to the Philippine Islands from exile in Hong Kong. Aguinaldo came on May 19 and, after accepting control of Philippine forces on May 24, pioneered land crusades against the Spanish. After the Battle of Manila on the break of the day of August 13, 1898 the Spanish governor, Fermin Jaudenes, relinquished Manila to United States Forces under George Dewey. On June 12, 1898, with the country even now under Spanish reign, Aguinaldo exalted Filipino independency from Spain, under authoritarian governance then being instituted. The enactment of the Declaration of Independence was devised and composed in Spanish by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, who read it at the proclamation ceremonial occasion. The proclamation was autographed by 98 individuals; amidst them was an American ground forces officer who saw the declaration. The insurgent authoritarian regime was substituted on June 23 by insurgent radical governance headed by Aguinaldo as president. The Spanish War was officially terminated on December 10, 1898 by the Treaty of Paris between the U.S.A. and Spain. In that pact, Spain surrendered the Philippine Archipelago to the United States, and the U.S. agreed to compensate US$20,000,000 to the Spanish government. The U.S. government then practiced reign over the Philippines. The insurgent First Filipino Republic was officially constituted with the declaration of the Malolos Constitution on January 23, 1899.
On February 4, 1899, the Filipino-American warfare broke out. Due to the high quality of American arms, the Filipinos fell from one military position to a different one till they were pressured to dissolve. Even after the formal cessation of aggressions and installing of the government by the Americans in 1901, the Filipino revolutionists carried on with their conflict for freedom. It was from that time till 1935; the revolutionary ground forces forfeited many of its cohorts in intermittent battles with American military personnel, but never lost its campaign.
In 1917, the Filipino Assembly created the Philippine National Guard with the aim to link with the American Expeditionary Force. By the time it was engulfed into the National Army it had raised to 25,000 soldiers. Nevertheless, these units did not experience military action. The first Filipino to expire in First World War was Private Tomas Mateo Claudio who serviced with the U.S. Marine Corps as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces to Europe. He expired in the Battle of Chateau Thierry in France on June 29, 1918. The first Philippine armed forces casualty during the World War II was functioning as an aeronaut with British forces. First Officer Isidro Juan Paredes of the Air Transport Auxiliary was wiped out on November 7, 1941, while his aircraft overshot a runway and broke apart at RAF Burtonwood. He was laid to rest at Great Sankey (St Mary) Churchyard Extension, but afterwards repatriated to the Philippines. Paredes Air Station in Ilocos Norte, was named in his honor.
After the Second World War, four military arenas were sparked off to accept the place of military territories. The Armed Forces was regrouped which gave birth to the four major overhauls of the Armed Forces. Home base National Defense Forces was renamed General Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines. The Filipino joined the Korean War in August 1950. The Philippines shipped a military force of around 7,500 fighting troops. This was known as the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea, or PEFTOK. It was the fourth largest personnel under the UN control then under the command of US General Douglas MacArthur that were sent off to guard South Korea from a communist encroachment by North Korea which was then backed up by Mao Zedong’s China and the Soviet Union. The PEFTOK participated in critical combats such as the Battle of Yultong Bridge and the Battle of Hill Eerie. This expeditionary force maneuvered with the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd, 25th and 45th Infantry Divisions.
In the early 1950s and the sixties, the Filipino authorities extended an aiding hand to war-worn nations as part of its loyalty as member of the United Nations. The army dispensed with five battalions which consisted of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) to execute its assurance to maintain the battle for democracy. The Filipino Civic Action Group to Vietnam (PhilCAGV) was directed to South Vietnam on a foreign mission of peace, where military engineers helped construct communities and army doctors and nurses offered medical services to the masses. Under the leadership of Brigadier General Leoncio S. Tan the Filipino ground forces instituted its separate military headquarters on 10 July 1957. The onset of the 1960’s ushered an elaboration of the ground forces roles, which include involvement in the socio-economic programs of the country, amongst others.
To attain more distinguished tractability and effectiveness, infantry divisions acquired the place of the military areas in the 70s. On 21 September 1972, the Martial Law epoch commenced. During the decade, armed forces operations backed by civic activity deflected the peaking of insurgency. The onslaught of the 1980s saw the development of the Special Operations Team (SOT) scheme which is targeted to keep apart the rebels from the civilian population, and disassemble the communist policy-making organizations, counterbalancing and refusing them command of barangays all across the country. Apart from pacification movements, the SOT takes on an extra role in national growth. Together with local government functionaries, SOT discovers troubles and offers help in areas that want essential facilities and services like roads, bridgeworks, schoolings, health and sanitation, support, etc. Because of its efficiency in crushing insurgency, this scheme is being embraced not only by the ground forces but by the entire Philippines Armed Forces. The Filipino ground forces, thus, is not exclusively the guardian of the Philippine people but as well a mate in nation building.
Present of Philippines Army
The present functional responsibility of the Philippines Army is to coordinate, coach and equip ground forces personnel for the conduct of quick and confirmed armed combat operations on land. The PA is determined to develop such units as may be essential for the effective pursuance of national defense programs and plans and armed services mission, including the expanding up of the peacetime ARMY constituent to take on any emergency. The Philippines Army will acquire, in accordance of rights with the other Major armed services, maneuvers, methods and equipment of concern to the ground forces on field operations. All necessary training and equipments are given to all ARMY reserve units and are always in the combat ready state. The Philippines Amy is all ready to execute any functions as the higher authorities may mastermind.
The current ground forces Insigne carries the historical events descriptive of the Philippine forces’ libertarian conflicts from the Katipunan Army to the contemporary Philippine Army. It’s emblematic of the glory and ambitions that remain glowing in the Philippine soldier’s bosom to maintain autonomy, freedom and democracy in his country. Present ground forces patch is fundamentally that of an altered pentagonal shield which stands for defense- the ground forces main and eventual mission. As a tool of defense, it tries to bear not just the external aggressors but as well endeavors to destruct internal menaces and subversive activity. It as well portrays the determination of the Philippine people in searching his identity as a nation. Inside the shield is a red equiangular triangle with 3 stars at its peaks, constituting the three major island-groupings: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. At the center of this equilateral triangle is an eight-rayed sun which exemplifies the first 8 states that revolted versus Spain. This triangular emblem, with a white boundary line standing for the ground forces foremost preoccupation with peace treaty, it’s the historical coat-of-arm of the Filipino Revolutionary Army of 1897. The center of the sun constitutes an old Philippine script exemplifying the letter “K” which represents the Katipunan regular army raised by Andres Bonifacio in the first scrambles for Filipino Independence. It leans on a field of green emblematic of the abundant land over which it wields its influence. The shield and the coat-of-arms successively, lie in along a white field symbolic of the pureness and highness of the Philippine ideals.
The current fleets of the armored vehicles in the possession of Philippines Army are: 65 FV101 Scorpion Light tank from United Kingdom, Turkey’s 7 ACV-300 Tracked-APC, Six (6) FV104 Samaritan Tracked-APC, One (1) FV432 Tracked-APC/Mortar Carrier and Three (3) FV106 Samson Tracked-APC from United Kingdom, Twenty (20) Bravia Chaimite Wheeled-APC from Portugal, 155 V-150 Commando Wheeled-APC from U.S.A. The South Korean KIA KM-250 2-1/2 ton truck (250 nos) and Kia KM-450, Japan’s Mitsubishi Fuso Fighter FK Series and Mitsubishi L200, Delta Mini Cruiser, and CMC Cruiser home made, United States Humvee and M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck are some of the utility vehicles that are currently deployed at the various bases of the Philippines Army.
The current fleets of aircrafts that are available at the services of the Philippine Army are: Beechraft 80 Queen Air, Cessna 421 Golden Eagle, Cessna 206 Super Skylane and Cessna 172 Skyhawk from the United States and Italy’s Polaris Motor SRL, the Flying Inflatable Boat. The anti tank weapons that the Philippine ground forces personnel possess are: M40 recoilless rifle, United States’ M67 recoilless rifle, M20 recoilless rifle and M72 LAW. The other important weapons include 200,000+ United States M16 Rifle- Assault Rifle, M4 Carbine- Assault Carbine, United States M14 Rifle- Assault Rifle, M60- General Purpose Machine Gun from United States, Belgium’s FN Minimi Light Machine Gun, United States M1911 – Semiautomatic Pistol, Light Machine Guns from South Korea Daewoo K3 and Singapore Ultimax 100 Light Machine Gun, M21- Sniper Weapon System, M203- Rifle-mounted Grenade Launcher and M79- Standalone Grenade Launcher from United States. The Filipino ground forces have a lot of regular units committed to counter-insurgency and formal army operations. Infantry comprises of 1st to 10th Infantry Division, Armor and cavalry is represented by the Light Armor Division, Combat support units are the 51st to 54th Engineering Brigade, Signal Group, Civil-Military Operations Group and Intelligence Security Group.
Future of the Philippines Army
Anticipating a greater, more substantial future for the army, the largest of the three branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, The Government is more than committed to expanding the armed forces personnel and the troops will be acquiring additional firepower. The army commander, Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortizhas revealed recently that the soldiers will be acquiring more protective equipment, additional living accommodations and better hospitals. Ortiz directed to changing 3 provisionary units to permanent units. In concurrence with the expansion, the general has dictated all current battalions to retrain to better their combat-readiness. The new weaponry will include 470 night-fighting systems, 155-millimeter mortars; 81-millimeter howitzers; light rocket launchers; and 60,000 ammunition-dispensing magazine assemblies. The new artilleries are sure to boost the performance of the Philippines Army in the coming years and they could emerge as one of the strongest army in terms of weapons and combat items.
The army received 740 40-millimeter grenade launchers in May 2011 and 2,200 additional launchers will be handed over succeeding year. The ground forces are as well raising its communicating capacities with three hundred Harris radio receivers, including bigger units for bases and hand-held units. This will add up to the present inventory of 9, 147 Harris radio sets. The ground forces projects to procure an extra 1, 476 base and hand-held radios and 210 sets for armored vehicles. The fresh troop-protection devices will include 9,786 Kevlar helmets. The military personnel already have 25,000, plus 2,015 units of body armor. The army presented 137 KM 450 trucks to its battlefront soldiers originally this year. It already had issued its flocks with 590 of the quarter-ton, South Korean designed trucks. The Philippines Army is also expecting about 90 units of M35 6×6 trucks, a 2 ½-ton cargo truck, to be delivered from the U.S. early next year. There is so much to look forward to in the near future for the Philippine Army.