Military History of the Philippines
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Spanish Colonial Period
For more details, see Philippine revolts against Spain
Battle of Mactan
The Battle of Mactan on April 21, 1521 was the first reported resistance of the natives in the Philippines against foreign invaders. Lapu-Lapu, a chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Spanish colonizer led by the Portugues navigator Ferdinand Magellanes or worldwidely known as Magellan.
After Magellan landed on the island of Homonhon March 16, 1521, he parleyed with Rajah Calambu of Limasawa, who guided him to Cebu Island on April 7. Through Magellan's interpreter, Enrique, Rajah Humabon of Cebu became an ally. Suitably impressed by Magellan's 12 cannons and 50 cross-bows, Rajah Humabon suggested that Magellan project power to cow Lapu-Lapu of Mactan.
Magellan deployed 48 armored men, less than half his crew, with cross-bows and guns, but could not land on Mactan since the island has a coral shoreline and lacks anchorage suitable for Spanish galleons. His crew had to wade through the surf to make landing. Eight crewmen were killed. Antonio Pigafetta, a supernumerary on the voyage who later returned to Seville, Spain, records that Lapu-Lapu had at least 1500 warriors in the battle.
Magellan was wounded in the leg, while still in the surf. As the crew were retreating, they record that Magellan was surrounded by natives.
Seven Years' War
Philippine Revolutionary Period and American Occupation
The Philippine Revolution, the first against western colonial rule in Asia, was directed against Spain which had colonized the Philippines since 1565. The Revolution against Spain had two phases: the first from the declaration of defiance against Spanish rule on August 23, 1896 till the conclusion of a truce in December 1897; the second from the return till the outbreak of the Filipino-American War in February 1899.
After over three centuries of Spanish colonial rule characterized by unenlightened government, outright exploitation of the Indios (the term used to apply to the indigenous population of Filipinos), suppression of the mestizos and the insulares (Spaniards born in the Philippines), belated and half-hearted attempts at reform, and on the part of the governed, countless sporadic and isolated revolts and other forms of resistance, the Philippine Revolution exploded on August 23, 1896, in the event that is commemorated as the "Cry of Pugadlawin." Located in the outskirts of Manila, there assembled on that day members of a secret revolutionary society known as the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan(Katipunan) -- Highest and Most Respectable Society of the Sons of the People, founded in July 1892), led by its founder, Andres Bonifacio, and there tore up their cedulas (identification receipts issued for payment of taxes) as a symbol of their determination to take up arms against Spain.
The seeds of revolution were, in fact, sown earlier in the nineteenth century when Spain's enforced isolation of the Philippines was shattered with the opening of the country to foreign commerce and the resulting development of an export economy by non-Spanish foreign enterprises (British, American, Chinese). Revolutionary and liberal movements in Europe and elsewhere, in addition to the persistence of friar autocratic rule, brought winds of change in the political climate in the Philippines. The most important event which possibly made the Revolution inevitable was that of February 17,1872, when three Filipino secular priests, leaders in the movement for the secularization (in effect, nationalization) of Philippine parishes, were executed publicly by garrote for their supposed complicity in a military mutiny at a Cavite arsenal on January 20, 1872. By linking them with the mutiny, the Spanish administration, with the instigation of Spanish friars, found a convenient way of doing away with the troublesome priests, considered by them as filibusteros (anyone who showed any radical tendencies) for demanding clerical equality with the Spanish friars.
The first manifestation of Philippine nationalism followed in the decades of the 1880s and the 1890s, with a reform or propaganda movement, conducted both in Spain and in the Philippines, for the purpose of "propagandizing" Philippine conditions in the hopes that desired changes in the social, political and economic life of the Filipinos would come about through peaceful means. The propaganda movement failed to secure the desired reforms, especially the expulsion of the friars and their replacement by Filipino secular priests and equality before the law between Spaniards and Filipinos, largely because the Spanish friars used their power and resources to thwart the activities of the Filipino ilustrados (educated Filipinos who led the movement).
The revolutionary society, Katipunan, was established, on July 7,1892, by Filipinos who had given up hope that the Spanish government would administer the affairs of Filipinos in the interests of its subjects—with justice and dignity. A secret association patterned after Freemasonry and the La Liga Filipina (a mutual-aid society founded by the ilustrado Jose Rizal on July 3, 1892), it recruited members in the suburbs of Manila and in the provinces of Central Luzon. By the time of the outbreak of the Revolution in August 1896, membership in the Katipunan has soared to about 30,000, which included some women. The Revolution broke out prematurely on August 23, 1896 because of the untimely discovery by a Spanish friar, on August 19, of the existence of the revolutionary society. The immediate result of the outbreak of the Revolution was the institution of a reign of terror by the Spanish authorities in an attempt to frighten the population into submission. Hundreds suspected of joining the Katipunan and the Revolution were arrested and jailed; prominent Filipinos were shipped to exile to the Carolines or the Spanish penal colony in Africa (Fernando Po); and still others were executed, including Jose Rizal, who was executed by musketry on December 30, 1896. The Revolution spread from Manila and Cavite to Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija represented as the eight rays in the Philippine flag.
Andres Bonifacio led the Revolution in its early stages, although he did not excel in the field of battle. Internal rivalry led to the division of the ranks within the Katipunan organization and with the execution of Bonifacio in May 1897 (charged with sedition and treason), leadership of the Revolution fell into the hands of another Katipunan member from Cavite, Emilio Aguinaldo, who distinguished himself in the battlefields in Cavite, at that time the heartland of the Revolution.
The first phase of the Revolution ended inconclusively, with both Filipino and Spanish forces unable to pursue hostilities to a successful conclusion. Consequently, between November 18 and December 15, a truce (in Biak-na-Bato) was concluded between the two sides which resulted in a temporary cessation of hostilities. Aguinaldo agreed to go on temporary exile to Hong Kong after the Spanish government compensated him and his revolutionary junta with P400,000. The truce failed as both sides entered the agreement in bad faith—neither was really willing to abandon hostilities but were biding time and resources to resume the armed conflict.
On June 12, 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines to be independent of Spain and thus formed the First Philippine Republic, in which he was the President. However, after the Spanish-American War the United States proceeded to lay claim to the Philippines and on February 4, 1899, the Filipino-American War began. The Americans established an occupation government in 1901.
World War I
World War II
See main article
Philippines campaign, 1944-45
The Philippines joined the Korean War beginning August 1950. The Philippines sent an expeditionary force of 7,500 troops for combat operations. This was known as the Philippine Expeditionary Force To Korea, or PEFToK. It was the 4th largest force under United Nations Command and was the only one force with experience in fighting communists, since the same force already fought against local communist rebels in the Philippines. PEFToK took part in decisive battles such as the Battle of Yultong. This expeditionary force was mostly attached to the United States 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry, 25th Infantry, and 45th Infantry.
The Philippines were involved in the Vietnam War. The country sent a total of 1,450 soldiers for civil and medical operations. This force was known as the Philippine Civil Affairs Assistance Group or PHILCAAG.
Islamic Insurgency in the Philippines
Late 1960's to present
- 2001 Mindanao "All-out" War
- Abu Sayyaf Conflict
Communist insurgency in the Philippines
Early 50's to present
Armed Forces History
Kagalanggalangan Kataastaasan Katipunan ng Bayan (KKK) was an organization formed by Andres Bonifacio.
Prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935, the United States Army had maintained a force in the Philippines. This force was composed mostly of native Filipinos and led by US officers, including a US general, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. This force was the Philippine Department. With the exception of the Philippine Constabulary, the region had no other forces.
Armed Forces of the Philippines
List of Peacekeeping Missions
- International Force East Timor see INTERFET
- UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET)
- UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
- Iraq War -The Philippines were also involved in the Iraq war. The country initially sent 51 soldiers for civil and medical operations. However, these were withdrawn in July 2004 due to threats by Iraqi Insurgents.
List of Coup d'etats
- Honasan's Coup d'états-(1987, 1989)
- Coups against Gloria Arroyo
List of Treaties
- Treaty of Paris (1763) (minor role)
- Treaty of Paris (1898)
- The National Defense Act of 1935 - In 1935 The National Defense Act of 1935 was enacted. President-elect Manuel L. Quezon convinced Chief of Staff of the United States Army General Douglas MacArthur to act as the military adviser to the Commonwealth of the Philippines. MacArthur was given the title "Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government" and tasked with establishing a system of national defense, for the Philippines, by 1946. For a time, MacArthur would also act as the Field Marshal of the Philippine Army.
- Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) (dissolved)
- Visiting Forces Agreement
- BALIKATAN - "Shoulder to Shoulder" Joint US-Philippines Military Exercises
List of Awards
- Philippine Legion of Honor
- Philippine Medal of Valor
- Philippine Distinguished Service Cross
- Philippine Legion of Honor
- Philippine Defense Medal
- Philippine Liberation Medal
- Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
- Philippine Independence Medal
List of major battles
- Battle of Manila
- Battle of Bataan
- Battle of Mactan
- Battle of Corregidor
- Battle of Luzon
- Battle of Leyte
- Battle of Tirad Pass
- Battle of Pulang Lupa
- Balangiga Massacre
- Philippine Air Force
- Philippine Army
- Philippine Navy
- History of the Philippines
- Filipino Special Forces