The Armed Forces of the Philippines (together with the Philippine national Police) is the major institution that is in-charge of protecting and keeping peace and order in the Philippines. It is the defender of democracy and the protector of invaders. This volunteer force is composed of 125,000 active soldiers and over 130,000 reservists. Here are some of the most important and interesting things about the AFP or Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (together with the Philippine national Police) is the major institution that is in-charge of protecting and keeping peace and order in the Philippines. It is the defender of democracy and the protector of invaders. This volunteer force is composed of 125,000 active soldiers and over 130,000 reservists.
Here are some of the most important and interesting things about the AFP or Armed Forces of the Philippines.
1. The head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the Commander in Chief which is the President of the Philippine Republic. Currently, Benigno Aquino III is the Philippine President therefore he is the Commander in Chief.
2. In the Filipino language, Armed Forces of the Philippines is Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas. It has three major branches namely; Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force.
3. Philippine Army in Filipino is Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas, Philippine Navy is Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas and Philippine Air Force is Hukbong Himpapawid ng Pilipinas.
4. Philippine Marine Corps, which is under Philippine Navy, is Hukbong Kawal Pandagat ng Pilipinas.
5. All the branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are part of the Department of National Defense which is headed by a Secretary.
6. Each of the 3 major AFP branches, which are headed by an officer, is under the unified leadership of the Chief of Staff with the usual rank of a full-pledged general.
7. The highest military commander in the Philippines is the Commander in Chief (Philippine President) followed by the Chief of Staff.
8. Historically, the AFP was founded in March 1897. Its headquarters is Camp Emilio Aguinaldo located along the historic EDSA or Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue in Quezon City.
9. General Artemio Ricarte, the first Captain General of the Philippine Revolutionary Army, is regarded as the father of Philippine Army
10. It was President Manuel L. Quezon who renamed the Philippine Army to Armed Forces of the Philippines with Gen Douglas McArthur as its first chief of staff.
11. McArthur was the only foreigner to hold a rank in the AFP. He held the rank of Field Marshal, a rank no other person has since held in the AFP.
General McArthur lands at Leyte / public domain
12. During the WWII, all Philippine Military were incorporated in the USAFFE or United States Armed Forces in the Forces making all Filipino soldiers at that time part of the US military and therefore deserve the benefits and privileges of an American soldier.
13. The now defunct Philippine Constabulary or PC, which was established by the Americans in 1901, was a former branch of the AFP. Members of the PC were incorporated in the Philippine National Police.
14. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines must be at least 18 years of age. A Filipino soldier may serve up to 56 years of age.
15. As of 2011, the AFP has a total budget of 2.5 million pesos which is equivalent to 8% of the GDP.
16. Military rank of officers in the Philippine Army and Air Force are as follows: (in descending order)
General (Gen), Lietenant General (lt. Gen.), Major General (Maj. Gen.), Brigadier General (Brig. Gen), Colonel (Col), Lt. Colonel (Lt. Col.), Major (Maj), Captain (Capt.), 1st Lieutenant (1Lt) and 2nd Lieutenant (2Lt)
17. Ranks of enlisted men in the Philippine Army are as follows:
Master Sergeant (MSgt), Staff Sergeant (SSgt), Technical Sergeant (TSgt), Corporal (Cpl), Private First Class and Private (Pvt)
18. Military ranks of officers in the Philippine Navy are as follows:
Admiral (Adm), Vice Admiral (VAdm), Rear Admiral (RAdm), Commodore (Commo), Commander (Cdr), Lieutenant Commander (Lt. Cdr), Lieutenant/Senior Grade (Lt.SG), Lieutenant/Junior Grade (Lt.JG), Ensign (Ens)
19. The AFP is consists of 6 unified command – the North Luzon Command (NOLCOM), South Luzon Command (SOLCOM), National Capital Region Command (NCRCOM), Central Command (CENTCOM), Western Command (WESCOM), Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) and West Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM).
20. NOLCOM’s headquarters is located in Camp Servillano Aquino in Tarlac City in Central Luzon, SOLCOM’s headquarters is in Camp Guillermo Nakar in Lucena City in Quezon and NCRCOM’s headquarters is in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
21. Central Command’s headquarters is located in Camp Lapulapu in Cebu City, West Command is in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, EASTMINCOM is in Panacan in Davao City and WESTMINCOM is in Camp General Navarro in Zamboanga City.
22. The highest rank given in the Philippine military is the “five star general” and the Philippine President receives an honorary rank of 5 star general making him the first rank holder.
23. The only career military officer to reached the rank of 5 star general is the former Philippine President Fidel Ramos. He graduated in the United States Military Academy in 1960.
24. The Philippine military school for the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the Philippine Military Academy or PMA located in Loakan, Fort Gregorio Del Pilar in Baguio City.
25. The Presidential Security Groups or PSG based in the Malacañan Palace under the Office of the President is an affiliate unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that provides security for the Philippine President and his family.
26. Philippine Army and Philippine marine Corps headquarter are located in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, Philippine Navy headquarters is in Philippine Navy, Roxas Boulevard, Manila and Philippine Airforce is in Villamor Air base in Pasay City.