Philippine Army - History

History

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. Though the Philippine Army grew out of forces which fought in opposition to and which defeated forces led by General Ricarte, General Ricarte is considered to be the father of the Philippine Army. He was elected in the March 22, 1897 Tejeros Convention in what is now General Trias, Cavite. The armed force of General Emilio Aguinaldo's revolutionary government replaced the Katipunan military from that day onward. The Philippine Army grew out of forces which fought in opposition to and which defeated forces under Ricarte. Ricarte was the only revolutionary general who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. and that he lived in exile in Hong Kong and later in Japan. Ricarte was one of the leaders of an organization termed "MAKAPILIS", called Makabayan Katipunan ng mga Pilipino (Patriotic Society of Filipinos), and characterized as having been a "fanatical pro-Japanese organization" during the WW-II Japanese occupation.

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.

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. With an annual appropriation of 16 million pesos, the mobilized units trained new Filipino members in defending the nation and protecting its people.

Japanese forces invaded the Philippines after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the island of Hawaii 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. 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.

This was also the same year that President Manuel Roxas finally reorganized the Philippine Army in a brand new Armed Forces of the Philippines via Executive Order no.94 signed the next day, July 1, and resulted in the formation of the Philippine Air Force and reformation of the Philippine Navy after long years as part of the PA.

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.

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