Country Listing

Philippines Table of Contents



Commonwealth Act 1, the National Defense Act of 1935, mandated the formation of the Army of the Philippines, comprising all eventual land, sea, air, and national police forces. The existing Philippine Constabulary was abolished and used as the nucleus of the new army. The Philippine Constabulary's air force became the army's air arm and a small maritime element, the Offshore Patrol, was added in 1939. Coincident with a reorganization of the government following independence, the military forces were redesignated the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1947. That organization was essentially an army command in which air force, maritime, and police internal security units were constituted as subordinate commands. A more fundamental reorganization of the military establishment in 1950, which was brought about in part by the growing Huk insurgency (see The Huk Rebellion , ch. 1), established four separate services--army, navy, air force, and national police--under a joint headquarters. The national police was renamed the Philippine Constabulary in 1959. The army continued to dominate the command structure, however, until 1960 when the headquarters was converted to a truly joint command.

The Philippines deployed combat forces abroad on three occasions. Expeditionary forces served in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) under the United Nations Command between 1950 and 1955. Also under United Nations auspices, air force officers and enlisted personnel were sent to the Republic of the Congo (now Zaire) in 1963. From 1966 until the early 1970s, the 2,000-strong Philippine Civic Action Group, composed mainly of engineer, security, medical, and rural community development teams, was active in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).

The 1987 constitution mandated further changes in the structure of the armed forces. The existing militia, the Civilian Home Defense Force, was ordered disbanded and was replaced beginning in 1988 with a new auxiliary force under the direct control of military regulars. More significantly, the 1987 constitution calls for the government "to establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian in character." Pursuant to that mandate, Aquino signed a law directing that the Philippine Constabulary, one of the four military services, be combined with the civilian Integrated National Police to form the Philippine National Police. The process of integrating the two organizations under a newly created Department of Interior and Local Government began on January 1, 1991.

Data as of June 1991