Defense Part II: Army, Navy, Air Force

105 Howitzer

Thefirst article in this series presented an overview of the Philippine Department of National Defense, the civilian organization responsible for articulating a following through on laws aimed at building a strong military. The essential question is, how prepared is the nation to defend itself? The answer, subject to further enlightenments as we proceed, appears to be “not very”. The reasons for the answer: (1) only 10% of the needed P331 billion budget for improvement has been allocated, and (2) the heavy administrative structure moves money to non-fighting purposes.

In this article, we will profile the main fighting units, army, navy and air force, looking at structure, mission and resources. JoeAm will make observations along the way. If you find the detail too mundane, please skip to the last section where JoeAm thinks outside the box.  
This matrix organization pulls all military forces together under a command structure covering seven geographic regions of the Philippines, plus a National Development Support Command. There are also 16 support units.  Here is a sample mission from the Central Command:
  • Central Command Mission: To conduct joint operations against threats in the Visayas in order to establish a Peaceful and Secured environment, and assist the Local Government Agencies in their Socio-Economic, Ecological and Developmental Activities.
AFP is led  by the following people:
  • Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista, AFP, Chief of Staff, AFP
  • Lt. Gen. Alan R Luga, Vice Chief of Staff, AFP
  • Lt. Gen. Gregorio E. Macapagal, Deputy Chief of Staff, AFP
  • CMS Guillermo C. Francisco, Sergeant Major, AFP
  • VAdm Jose Luis M. Alano, Flag Officer-in-Command, Philippine Navy
  • Lt. Gen. Noel A. Coballes, Commanding General, Philippine Army
  • Lt. Gen Lauro Catalino G. Dla Cruz, Commanding General, Philippine Air Force
The unified command centers are:
  • National Capitol Region
  • Northern Luzon
  • Southern Luzon
  • Central
  • Western
  • Eastern Mindanao
  • Western Mindanao
  • National Development Support
JoeAm Observations:  The number of coordination, administrative and support units that are behind the fighting troops makes for one huge body of soldiers not bearing arms. Clothing. Meals. Beds. Equipment. Transportation. Wow.
  • Vision:  A world-class Army that is a source of national pride.
  • Mission: To organized, train equip, deploy, and sustain ground forces in support of the AFP mission. 
  •  ISO (Internal Security Operations) Mission: To organize, train, equip, deploy and sustain ground forces to defeat the CTM by 2010, destroy the ASG and contain the SPSG in order to establish a physically and psychologically secure environment conducive to national development.
  • Function: Organize, train and equip Army forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land;  Prepare such units as may be necessary for the effective prosecution of national defense plans and programs and Armed Forces mission, including the expansion of the peacetime ARMY component to meet any emergency; Develop, in accordance with the other Major Services, tactics, techniques and equipment of interest to the Army on field operations; Train, organize and equip all ARMY reserve units; and Perform such functions as the higher authorities may direct.

JoeAm Observations: World class” is difficult to attain. The nation has too many demands on its budget to build a sophisticated army. It may be a more realistic vision to develop highly capable tactical or strike forces rather than masses of well-armed troops.And pride as an objective? How about ability to defend? The ISO mission recognizes that internal threats are the real threats of today, but clearly there is also awareness that external threats exist ( see Light Armor’s stated transition to conventional warfare capability).

Major Units
  • 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Pa, Location: Kuta Major Cesar L Sang-an, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. Mission:  Conducts Internal Security Operations (ISO) in the AOR to dismantle and destroy the remaining guerilla fronts of the LCM, the MILF, and the Abu Sayyaf Group in order to attain peace and stability conducive to sustainable development; assists  the  government  in  its  socio-economic development projects; and assists the PNP curb criminalities in the AOR.
  • 2nd Infantry Division: Location: Tanay, Rizal. Mission:  “Conduct sustained Internal Security Operations (ISO) in regions 4A and 4B to neutralize the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) and the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New Peoples Army (NPA) in order to create a physically and psychologically sound environment conducive for development and commerce.” Known as the Jungle Fighter Division, 2nd Division is the Philippine Army’s primary Infantry unit specializing in jungle warfare. [Wiki]
  • 3rd Infantry Division:Mission: Conducts support operations in Western Visayas (Negros Occidental and, Panay and Guimaras Islands ), Negros Oriental and Suiquijor Island to “Win the Peace” 01 January 2011 to 31 December 2016 in order to help create an environment conducive for sustainable development and a just and lasting peace in the area. (JoeAm Note: headquarters has 100 positions assigned per web page; these are mainly coordination and special staff.)


  • 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division:Mission: Conducts sustained IPSO to clear the AOR of CNN affectation and significantly degrade the armed capability of NEMRC, NCMRC, and part of SMRC effective 01 January 2011 to help the LGU’s to maintained (sic) an environment conducive to sustainable development and a Just and Lasting peace by 2016. AOR: see map.
Who needs jets when you’ve got this?
  • 5th Infantry Division: Mission: Conduct internal security operations in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Administrative Regions to destroy the communist terrorists and other threat groups in order to establish a physically and psychologically secured environment conducive to economic development. AOR: see map. Camp: Photos feature recreation facilities including golf course, bar and swimming pool.
  • 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division:Location: Central Mindanao. Slogan: “Winning the Peace through Unity and Progress”.
  • 7th Infantry Division: (2 subsidiary sites; no Div. site): 702nd Infantry (Defender) Brigade:  “For the past 23 years, the 702nd Infantry (DEFENDER) Brigade has devotedly and selflessly served the people within its Area of Responsibility within the areas of Central Luzon. Currently located at Brgy Calaanan, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija . . . ” 703rd (Agila) Brigade: Mission:  Conducts ISO to clear the remaining CTM affected areas in AOR NLT Yearend 2011 and prevent resurgence at cleared areas through holding operations in order to establish a physically and psychologically secure environment conducive to development. AOR: Provinces of Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac, Pangasinan , La union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
  • 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division:  AOR: Eastern Visayas (Islands of Samar, Leyte and Biliran). Mission: Conducts Internal Security Operations (ISO) in the Area of Responsibility (AOR) to dismantle and destroy the remaining guerilla fronts of the Local Communist Movement (LCM) in order to attain peace and stability conducive to sustainable development in assisting the Philippine government in its socio-economic development projects; and assists the Philippine National Police curb criminality in the Visayas Region. [Wiki]
  • 9th Infantry (Spear) Division: (Web access denied.  “You don’t have permission to access . . .”) Location:  Bicol Region.  Mission:  conduct sustained Internal Security Operations (ISO) in the Bicol region, excluding Masbate (8ID), to neutralize the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) and the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New Peoples Army (NPA) in order to create a physically and psychologically sound environment conducive for development and commerce of the Bicol Region. [Wiki]
  • 10th Infantry (Agila) Division: AOR: 6 provinces, namely: Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley Province, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Sarangani and South Cotabato and the chartered cities of Davao and General Santos. 
  • Light Armor Division: Vision: A modern, dynamic and relevant light armor division. Mission: To organize, train, equip, provide and sustain armor forces in the conduct of support operations to “Win the Peace” in order to help the Filipino nation create an environment conducive to sustainable development and just and lasting peace.  Units: Today, the Division maintains five (5) Light Armor Battalions, three (3) Mechanized Infantry Battalions, two (2) separate Light Armor Companies deployed in various parts of the archipelago, one (1) Aviation Battalion stationed in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, an Armor Maintenance Battalion, a Headquarters and Headquarters Service Battalion, a Signal Company, an engineer Combat Company and the Armor School, 1ACT, all based in Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac. New Role:  In Line with the Army Modernization Plan, the Armor Division at the advent of the 21st Century, would be geared towards it new role – conventional warfare combat arms. Assets: Armor Personnel Carrier (APC), Commando V-150, Simba AFV, Scorpion CVR
  • 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion: (No web site) Location: Mindanao. Mission: Organize, train, equip, deploy and sustain armor forces to defeat the CTM by 2010, destroy the ASG and contain the SPSG in order to establish physically and psychologically secured environment conducive to national development.
  • Other Units: A number of significant service and support units: reserves, engineers, munitions, hospitals, materiel, etc..
Personnel: 200,000+ active duty; 170,000 reserves. [Wiki]
Armaments [Wiki]
  • Armored Vehicles: 560, some as old as 1967; some assigned to Marines, most to Army
  • Artillery: 270 cannons (155 and 105 mm); 70+ mortars; most delivered 1950’s to 1980’s
  • Aircraft: 8 light airplanes (e.g., Cessna)
  • Small Arms: mainly 200,000 M-16’s; various other light weapons.
JoeAm Observations: The Army has become an effective jungle fighting force and has a broad presence in the remote areas where rebel and terrorist organizations operate. It is dangerous work, and the Army succeeds in keeping armed unrest to a minimum. These forces deserve utmost respect and appreciation. A cynic is inclined to ask, however, given the shortage of money whether golf courses, web sites dedicated to self-appreciation, and parades are the highest and best use of funds. The Army also provides disaster relief, supports local police to fight crime, and mans COMELEC check points during elections, all non-combat functions.

The Philippine Navy is the focus of attention now to upgrade defense capabilities in the West Philippine Sea. Two small fighting ships (cutters) have been obtained. A third is in the plan but has been deferred so that money can be better spent arming the first two.
  • Web Site: Thin with little information. Home page emphasizes recruitment. The web site contains no mission statement. This slogan is at the foot of the web site:  “Strong and Credible Navy for a Progressive Maritime Philippines”. Reference is made to a “Navy Sail Plan 2020”, but it is not published on the site.
  • Organization: There are two major operating units, (1) the sailing fleet, and (2) the marines. Resources are organized under seven regional commands corresponding to the AFP unified command geographic regions supported by five support commands and eight support units.
  • Bases: There are three naval bases (Cavite, San Vicente, Mactan), and 15 naval stations distributed across the Philippines. There are five marine corp bases.
  • Personnel:  21, 957 [Wiki]
  • Equipment:
  • On Hand: three frigates, eleven corvettes, “numerous” patrol boats, eleven amphibious landing ships and five auxiliary ships. [Wiki]
  • Modernization Program:
  • Hamilton class cutter: two obtained; a third deferred pending arming of the first two.
  • Multi-purpose attack craft: six obtained so far; 42 planned. They haul 16 troops, two tons of supplies, and each has a 50 caliber and two smaller machine guns.
  • Landing craft utility: One
  • Offshore patrol vessel: None obtained; three in the plan.
  • Under consideration: support and multi-purpose vessels; submarine
  • Helicopters: Only one on hand. Target is 18 including 2 anti-submarine attack helicopters.
  • Deep water patrol vessel (frigate): One under consideration
The organization of the Air Force units is not clear. Wiki presents a 2006 organization chart which does not appear to be the same as recorded on the Air Force web site.  Some units appear to have been deactivated, although they are still shown on the web site (15h Strike Wing; dissolved due to lack of aircraft in 2010). The truth and travails are reflected in this snapshot in the Air Force history profile:
  •  Embracing the core values of IN-STEP – Integrity, Service above Self, Teamwork, Excellence and Professionalism – the leadership resolved to develop and arrest mediocrity at all levels. To sustain this, for the last three years, the modest acquisition was complemented by a structured system of strategic planning and redefined training programs alongside the widespread updating of manuals and other documents that focused on the dictates of service – advocating peace, progress and unity. Hammering down on pronounced core competencies and core values, the present airmen and airwomen created opportunities for the PAF to show its decisive will to succeed, driven and honorable despite and in spite of present realities and pronounced difficulties.
Philippine Air Bases
Little information is readily available about Air Force units, reflecting the cash-strapped condition of this branch of service.
  • 1st Air Division:  Mission ” . . . vital role on the internal security operations of the AFP . . . Its area of responsibility is now confined to the whole of the Luzon only, not nationwide as before. . . . Command and control over five (5) Tactical Operations Groups: TOG 1 in Loakan, Baguio City; TOG 2 in Cauayan, Isabela; TOG 3 in San Miguel, Tarlac; TOG 4 in Lucena City; and TOG 5 in Legaspi City and the 600th Air Base Wing, which maintains and secures Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga, where the Division headquarters is currently based.” Vision: Given the new mission in Luzon in support to two major AFP Unified Commands, the 1st Air Division envisions to be a multi-dimensional force with vigilant air power and reach that can provide decisive and precise effects on all types of threats to national security through the employment of credible air power either on land, air or sea.
  • 2nd Air Division: (“Forbidden to access this web site”).
  • 3rd Air Division: (No web site).
  • 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing: (No web connectivity).
  • Personnel: 17,000 [Wiki]
  • Aircraft On Hand: [Wiki]
    • Light Attack/Trainer Jet: 5
    • Light Attack/Observation/Trainer Prop: 50
    • Transport: 7
    • Light Observation/Training: 32
    • Helicopters: 93
  • Upgrade Plan: [Wiki]
    • Jet Fighters: maintenance  expense for 12 US F-16s deemed too high; attention is now on light training jets, converted to fight;12 FA-50 units from South Korea are being purchased as first step
    • Helicopters: 25 being acquired; attack and service
    • Others: a variety of transports, trainers, utility aircraft, and helicopters are being purchased or considered to fill certain support needs
Let’s consider these military units from the perspective of past, present and future:
The structure of the Philippine military is similar to that of America or other warmongering states of the 20th century, with three main components defined by their equipment and place of fighting:
  • Army, on the land with land machines and guns
  • Navy, on the sea with water machines and guns
  • Air Force, in the skies with air machines and guns
The Air Force and Navy give meaning to the term “dilapidated”. Run down from benign neglect.
Schools or guns? We are not at war, at least externally; schools are more important. The Philippine government cannot fund robust build-up of military strength. Old equipment is getting very old. New equipment is being ordered unit by unit with approval going all the way to the top, the President, because equipment is expensive and it becomes a national budgeting decision. So F-16 jets are scrapped in favor of jet trainers and two Navy cutters are ordered rather than three.
The army gets huge resources, as it has a triple function:
  • Fighting rebels and terrorists
  • Domestic support: Helping the police deal with criminals  and manning COMELEC check points
  • Disaster response
It is easy to question whether Army resources are applied well. We see pictures of golf courses and see all the parades and award ceremonies prominantly featured on web sites and note that there are many cross-command administrative units that do not go into the field. So there would appear to be a LOT of administrative padding among the 200,000 active duty soldiers. How many fighters do you estimate there are? A few thousand?
The course that the Philippines is pursuing is to build defense capabilities slowly, within available resources. Specifically, the goal is to acquire equipment. There is plenty of manpower available.
This is a reasonable approach. But what if we paused to reflect on what is happening in the world of military fighting. For brevity, let’s note two profound trends in fighting:
  • It is a world of missiles in place of cannons and bombs
  • It is a world of drones in place of feet on the ground
  • In 20 years, it will be a world of laser weapons in place of missiles
Missiles and drones work on land, at sea and in the air. Why should the military structure be of World War II design based on land, water and air equipment, with administrative multipliers to coordinate? Why is there not a single unified “Missile Command” with land vehicles, ships and airplanes being merely a part of the delivery platform – offense or defense – to support that master weapon strategy??
  • Like get rid of all the extra layers of  coordination staff and swimming pools and buy missiles.
And drones are powerful, powerful machines. Little ones with cameras, big ones with missiles. Why is the Philippines not leapfrogging past artillery, armored personnel carriers and jets to get to drones? Indeed, we can adjust the name of our force to be the “Missile and Drone Command” or simply “Military Command”.
  • Like, buy drones instead of jet trainers and cannons. Stop camping troops in the jungle where they are vulnerable to assault.
With advanced missile and drone capabilities, the Philippines can reduce its fighting labor, the troops on the ground. Oh, yes, troops are needed to support the battle plan, or do the drone body counts. But these should be specialized commandos, jungle guys, cave crawlers. Not parade-ground warriors marching all aligned, petty boys making the generals happy (I exaggerate for literary effect). ALL command centers are fully integrated commands, using land, sea or air resources as necessary, all able to order from the same quartermaster, procure from the same procurement center, and talk on the same radio frequency. Like, on the same team. Not patched together by coordination administrators.
  • Like, trim the ground troops down to a few companies of hard-nosed commandos who operate under the umbrella of missiles and drones. Mobile, in and out. Well equipped. Lean and mean strike teams. Hard-trained for fighting, not wasted manning checkpoints.
If you need a national police force to fight criminals and help with elections, or a disaster force to rescue people, call them by a different name. Don’t call them Army. Call them Federal Police or something.
Army should be the fighting men and women.
It’s a pride thing. A focus thing. A motivation thing. A commitment thing. A skill and training thing.

And if your argument is “we have too much invested in the current infrastructure; it is not feasible to take it apart”, I would ask.

  • Are you really interested in defending the Philippines? Or is it good enough to see this laggardly catch-up go on year after year?

A nation with limited resources cannot compete on a level playing field with the big guys. It has to be smarter, more precise, stronger and meaner. Hit hard, hit fast. In, out, hit again. Like Pacquiao fighting a big guy, you  follow?

I’ll elaborate on this in a future blog. Just thinking out loud . . . one hand on the keyboard, the other on the coffee mug . . .

53 Responses to “Defense Part II: Army, Navy, Air Force”
  1. Edgar Lores says:

    1. I’m out of my depth here, so I’ll just record some general impressions.2. My overall general impression of the state of the armed forces is: woeful.3. The primary nature of the Philippines as an object of offence and defence is its archipelagic nature. 3.1 It may be hard to conquer, and may be easy to defend.3.2 It is hard to maintain law and order, and to suppress insurgency and terrorism.3.3 As noted, the Army is the dominant arm due to insurgency and terrorism.3.4 However, one would think that the Navy would have a greater allocation of resources and a greater role in both internal and external operations.3.5 The Air Force would be used mainly to (a) thwart external aggression and (b) to support land (Army) and sea (Navy) operations. Objective (a) is laughable, however, given that it has only 5 jets.4. Strategically, from the viewpoint of external offence, control of Manila and the air bases – most of which are on Luzon anyway – would be critical. Domination of the entire country would emanate from this central control.5. The use of new weaponry – missiles, lasers and drones – would be incredibly expensive. 5.1 Would missiles be used for internal or external targets? Either way, it may not be a viable weapon.5.2 Laser weaponry are just now being deployed by the US mostly against missiles and drones. But they can be anti-personnel as well and can be used to ward off enemy sea craft. This would be a viable weapon if the country can afford it.5.3 Drones can be used for intelligence-gathering and also as one-time offensive weapons. The country may afford to use it for the first purpose but not for the second. In either case, the cost for developing and maintaining the technological infrastructure would be prohibitive. 6. Overall, given the weaknesses of the armed forces, your questions and suggestions are to the point.6.1 It seems inescapable in the meantime that the country must maintain defence agreements with the US, Japan, Australia; peace arrangements with its Asean neighbours; and resort to international organizations to arbitrate external disputes.

  2. Yes, you have started where I ended up, having thought it only halfway through. Who is the enemy? How do we defeat them? Are missiles and drones any more practical than howizzers and submarines and jet planes? What is the role of alliance partners? That will my next installment, and I appreciate your framing the issues so clearly.

  3. hahahaha, howizzers is how we drunks greet our superiors down at the BOQ (Basic Officer's Club). Howitzers is cannons.

  4. Edgar Lores says:

    Incidentally, Nelson Demille's "The Panther", which I finished reading a month ago, gives a fascinating insight into the capabilities of drone technology. It's war by remote control.

  5. Indeed. I wonder if I can get that book hereabouts. I imagine drones with infrared technology able to pick up warm bodies moving through the jungle at night, and cams during the day, spying from so high that you don't know they are there. Controlled out of Brisbane perhaps.Which is why every warmonger worth his socks is also working on how to shoot down satellites. Lasers will work best, I suspect. Fry the innards and make elegant space junk of them.

  6. 3rdWorld Pyongyang has armies of cybersoldiers so are 1stWorld countries. They hack their way into cyberjungle change codes to their enemies missile trajectory to land on their own country. Whereas the Philippines still rely on old fashion 50 calibers, helicopters, hamilton-class and foot soldiers. What is goot with goot 'ol fashion soldiering is they are impervious to cyberattacks especially Filipino brains which are hard as coconuts. What they do is pay off clueless brilliant Philippine ivy-school columnists to attack their own government till it implodes.

  7. I think someone from Inquirer pulled that news about Israeli-made drones that was acquired with commission attributed to the general that "committed suicide". I cannot find the article no matter how I Google it. Was it a slip of the tongue? I do not know. I know I pasted that link somewhere in cyberspace but not in JoeAm's. The PHilippine Senate and Congressmen shold know about this acquisition because it was part of the investigation of army corruption. Whatever happened to that Israeli-made drones. Why was not picked up by brilliant ivy-school graduate columnists? Why there was no follow-up? Could it be a national secret? Or they do not know how to fly it? Or, it could have crashed and covered up because these ding-dongs cannot even fly it in safety & comfort of their armchair? Did they sell it to Pyongyang for a hefty commission? On the other hand, why buy these 2nd hand frigate with no meaningful defense and offense system? This should be investigated. It is like buying a car with no engine and tires. To whom are they going to buy it from? Of course, they'll buy the phalanx anti-missile-missile from the Americans. Why did they buy these harmless armed-less frigate without the package? I just do not get it at all when they "have" the money budgeted for it. FILIPINO MINDS AT WORK? Or, Americans are not selling them these toys afraid they might use it against their own Filipino people.There should be investigation. They have a lot of explaining to me. Because their producrement is not lucid, logical and downright not upright.

  8. Why do Filipinos have tanks? Who is it intended for? PHilippines is an island. PHilippines is poor. Philippines do not have brainiac military strategists. They are physically not fit, pot-bellied, bottle-ready preferably whisky. These tanks and jets definitely are not acquired to invade neighboring countries. Definitely the PHilippines cannot move these tanks into position to neighboring islands in 25 hour flat to deter foreign invaders. Do they have heavy military roll-on roll-off transport? Maybe they have to comandeer 2Go Shipping Lines to transport 10-ton tank. 1 ferry is enough to carry 1 heavy tank. Two tanks in one ferry sinks the ferry. My position is the Philippine Military is to protect the government from within. From their own Filipino people that they have oppressed. Philippine government is somekind of Little Pyongyang.

  9. That's interesting, the drone and the suicide. I've poked a little on the cost of missiles. A Tank buster costs about $80,000 with a shoulder launcher that runs about $120,000. Think it would work on a ship? The cheapest missile is $5,000 a pop. You can get a nice laser-guided job for $20,000.That or several billion for F-16's. Me, I'd leave the F-16's to Uncle Sam, but my boats would be loaded for response the first time a Chinse ship gets pushy in Philippine territory. Of course, this would be after the UN upholds the Philippine case and China refuses to abide by it.And I sure wouldn't have my boys camped out in headhunter land without proper overhead protection. I really dislike seeing army guys manning COMELEC checkpoints. What a waste of training, assuming their training is anything like mine was. Rigorous.

  10. I worry that that's what most of the troops are doing. Stuff that doesn't mean much. Shipping tanks or parading.I think Muslim Mindanao can be put at peace with economic investment that is significant.NPA are like gangsters, with gangs spread out all over the place, in the mountains. What, 5,000 or so left? I think unless the locals start turning on them, that is a nasty one to sort out. I wouldn't dedicate 50,000 soldiers to the cause. I'd dedicate a bunch of drones and 1,000 troops. But I'm mainly a fiction writer, so what do I know?

  11. Boris says:

    Hi Joe. I think you're correct in saying that missiles and drones would do the job nicely in defending the Philippines. But I must disagree that we should focus on them entirely. They do not establish presence, ships do. Not to mention that they are unable to project power, so that means any war happens on Philippine soil, and we'd have to foot the bill for reconstruction even if the defense is successful. I prefer we have the means to fight as far away from Philippine soil as much as possible, to prevent damage to us. In fact, I would be very happy to have the means to invade another country to really deter invasion, but that's for now a fantasy.Additionally, the setup you propose is too defensive in nature, which surrenders initiative to any prospective invader. I gather that you served in the military before, and understand that initiative is very important. We need to be able to disrupt the rhythm of any offensive if we are to succeed in any way.Finally, if we have ships, planes, and other traditional implements of war, we have the means to prevent war by affording us a more flexible defense posture. How so? We can just steam ships to a certain point in the sea and it automatically blocks a certain radius of maritime real estate. We then have the option to just block or escalate. Do we just buzz their ships with our (hopefully soon to be real) jets? Do we fire shots across the bow? With drones and coastal batteries, we're always limited to shoot or not to shoot, and those options are not always feasible in all situation.Nevertheless, I completely agree with your analysis of how bloated the AFP is in all the wrong places and its emphasis on PR instead of actual defense.

  12. The best defense and offense of the Philippines is education. Once Filipinos are educated in the real sense of the word they would know how to defend themselves. Burgeoning economy is offense that gives presence to our neighbors and around the world. Right now, the burgeoning slave economy relies on slave export politely called Overseas Foreign Workers. Even Philippine Military are exporting their soldiers under blue helmet, another resource, under contract with the U.N. They are not there to fight but just a glamorize blue-clad security guards with toy guns that cannot pit against Blackwater crew who are there for the thrill to kill that makes an Army of Philippine Military lookks like kindergartners in short pants.

  13. Attila says:

    My wife explained to me what really NPA is all about. She told me that gangs often like to call themselves NPA to have a larger than life image to scare and impress others. They are just an isolated bunch of group of bandits and gangs operating independently. They have absolutely nothing to do with ideology other than being criminals.

  14. NPA are band of bandits. Philippine Military are band of lazy loosy corrupt soldiers. When there are killings and robberies instead of investigating IT IS SIMPLER TO ATTRIBUTE IT TO New Peoples Army. It is tradition in the Philippines and among Filipinos.Palawan ex-Governor Joel Reyes was accused in killing a radio-journalist personality. EVIDENCE? Well, the evidence is because this radio-journalist personality keeps attacking Joel Reyes. So, therefore, in traditional Filipino sense of investigation, Joel Reyes kills his protagonist. AND THAT IS THE EVIDENCE along with AFFIDAVITS. No forensics. Who'd want to do forensics in the Philippines. There are no experts in the Philippines. Even the massacre of Chinese was investigated by forensic investigators from Hong-Kong.AMPATUAN. The moment journalists were Ampatuanized even before the investigation started, THE JOURNALISTS ALREADY KNEW IT WAS THE Ampatuans. RAMONA BAUTISTA was right in on the lam because in the Philippines once accused always guilty. So, people, once accused of anything in the Philippines you better pick-up your blue passport and ready to fly away because in the Philippines justice is DAAN BALUKTOT!!!RENATO CORONA violator of banking secrecy laws The Little Lady in Red Riding Hood and Mr. Anonymous that gave a photocopy of dollar bank account of Renato Corona remains scot free lying on a hammock strung out between two coconut trees and sipping daiquiri.I SO LOVE THE PHILIPPINES. But I should not blame the Filipinos because in every Filipinos' hearts resides God. If I attack Filipinos I attack God. God gets angry. God attacks me. Gives me Visa to America to live a life of wealth and convenience because this is the usual lifestyles of anti-God.Now that I am into God, "IT IS EASIER FOR A POOR MAN TO PASS THRU THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE THAN A RICH MAN". So, all Filipinos go to heaven because they are all poor.But All poor Filipnos wanted no heaven. They wanted to go to America, therefore, they are not God fearing people.

  15. Actually, we have little disagreement. I also think ships are crucially important, but ought to be thought of as integrated with air support and land troops, not separate. And they ought to be armed with drones and missiles.I don't think there will be much need to invade another country, but I can imagine the Philippines occupying islands that China claims, but that are within the 200 NM economic exclusion zone of the Philippines That would probably involve land, air and sea forces. Unified, which is tighter than "coordinated".I also agree that offense is important, and I consider drones to be a very superior offensive weapon. Very disruptive.

  16. "The best defense and offense of the Philippines is education."Bingo. Superb point.

  17. @Attila, yes, I drew that conclusion a few years ago when I lived on Mindanao. Basically, NPA are extortionist racketeers. They blow up buses to intimidate bus owners into giving them big cash. They march to your doorstep and demand money for "protection". They will persist until the community turns against them or the economy is a hell of a lot stronger than it is now.

  18. Attila says:

    Renato: You are a piece of art. I rarely find a Filipino with your sense of humor. You are painfully right.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If I'm not mistaken, Abu Sabaya was terminated with the help of a drone. I wonder if the US can share their drone tech with us in this way if the target is not a common enemy.DocB

  20. Yes, how to get geared up on drones. I think the US might not share. I've seen kids fly small radio-controlled planes. The tricks I suppose are high resolution cameras, long distance control and transmission without interference, and fuel. I'd put some techie Filipino "kids" on the project. It might be rudamentary at first, but it is still better than troops slogging blindly through the jungle. Also, I suspect a good proposal to the US as to needs, use and limits of use might get a better response than just a plea for technology.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The "techie Filipino kids" you mentioned might be able to rig a drone-like flying object to do spying but the trick is how to "weaponize" the damn thing.DocB

  22. Anonymous says:

    But how do you turn Army superiors who are stuck in the Cold War? Worse, there are reports of personnel pilfering materiel for money in Mindanao ( one reason Senator Trillanes took up arms against Arroyo ). How do you overturn this mentality with education? One way I see is to pursue those cases against army personnel and hold them to account. Jonas Burgos, the scientist Co, etc. (But earlier, the Sandiganbayan let the thief General Garcia easily off the hook…well, also probably the Judiciary). I also see promise in the declassification of military intelligence of the Martial Law papers surrendered to the Commission on Human Rights…DocB

  23. Boris says:

    My apologies, I misunderstood the Missile Command concept as completely doing away with ships and planes. It might interest you to know that until 1950, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is just the Philippine Army, with an Army Air Corps and Offshore Patrol with command highly integrated.While your idea of complete integration has merit (it would remove a lot of bloat while ensuring a very smooth chain of command), I am a bit leery about it not for the sake of military defense, but the state defending itself against the military. The high proportion of Philippine Military Academy alumni in high command (with the bonding experienced there) is considered to be one of the reasons that facilitate coups. Alfred W. McCoy wrote a book, Closer Than Brothers, which analyzes this. So if we include that factor, maybe it would be essential to maintain separate services and service academies with multiservice military districts. Not as efficient as a unified command, but safer for the civilian government. Maybe.

  24. Yes, in the interim, it would probably be helicopters and troops following the eye in the sky. I think you could get a missile tube on a drone okay, like those shoulder-style smaller ones. Aiming it precisely would be a challenge: spotting a laser from the drone camera onto the target. It would be a fun project, eh? I was in a rocket club when I was in high school. We made our own rocket fuel and rockets and almost set fire to our leader's house. Then we discovered girls.

  25. Yes, competition for promotions and inter-service rivalries are almost as angry as battles. It's weird. Closer than brothers but always trying to elbow the other guy out of position. Orders have to be clear and come from the top down. One thing about dramatic change is it provides the opportunity to clean house and get rid of the opportunists.

  26. Boris says:

    J originally asked me to write about the AFP for his blog. Would you mind if I copy your posts' structure and copy some info/cite some of your suggestions if I ever get around to writing that?

  27. Yeah. The army is more political than the Senate because promotions are based on favor. The US is a little that way, too. Competitive within the ranks. The prominence of favor as selection criterion makes for an undisciplined rabble seems to me. It would take a clear road map and new ways of picking the generals who are competent and service oriented, not pets and soft-life oriented.

  28. Boris says:

    Well, I think it's the same in any military, or any organization for that matter. People will be people anywhere. But I wouldn't mind seeing a massive purge of the officer corps to shake things up and destroy the sense of self-entitlement a lot of officers have. Hopefully that would lead to a military with a far more professional attitude towards defending the country.

  29. You may use any material you wish. I'd look forward to reading the article, so I hope you crank it out.

  30. Yep. "Self-entitlement", that's the concept I was striving to grab. Thanks. Indeed, that is what needs to be replaced by service and discipline and achievement.

  31. Tokwa says:

    IMHO one of the reason for our current AFP structure is our country's geography, in which every command post, battalion, etc. should be standalone. And by scattering our forces or headquarters, theoretically the army could immediately respond to any incident in the Philippines.But with the recent technological development and advancement, the reason previously stated is kind of obsolete. Where today it is possible to communicate with a person from the other side of the globe in real time, a vehicle traveling at 100kph is normal, fighter planes are able to exceed the speed of Mach 1, one missile have more destructive power than one barrel of gun powder, etc.IMHO the AFP should reduce its headquarters and officials, use that money in providing equipment and training to its troops.The AFP can be liken to a company that has too many managers and supervisors, and the actual people who gets the work done are short handed.

  32. That makes a lot of sense. A small, well-equipped, mobile force. Not so much weight sitting at desks.

  33. Anonymous says:

    You are right, JoeAm, the NPA now is nothing but a bunch of gangsters. This was not so at an earlier time, before the communist purges and the time of Alex Boncayao Brigade, where they put the fear of God in those rogue cops like Joe Pring or Zarcal. I think the American Colonel James Rowe was gunned down by this people. Now it looks like these guys have been co-opted, playing the revenge game while extorting money from big businessman, not any different from gangsters, while their ideologue head honcho is safe in the Netherlands…DocB

  34. Yes, wonderful ideology, to intimidate, murder and steal.

  35. Edgar Lores says:

    Interesting points raised by Boris:1. There is no Philippine Naval Academy nor a Philippine Air Force Academy.1.1 There are bills to establish a Naval Academy, but do not think it has been set up. What we have is a Merchant Marine Academy, where my best friend in college taught English, and which has made industrious Pinoy sailors popular and consequently held as hostages in Somalia.1.2 Senator Angara has pushed for the creation of an Air Force Academy. What we have is a College of Aeronautics.1.3 So the PMA reigns.2. Given our geographic formation, we should be a marine power. We should be a shipbuilding country. The top three shipbuilding countries are Korea, Japan and China. 2.1 I don't know if the inter-island vessels have improved but in the 70's they were more animal cargo ships where people slept in open areas on double-bunks that were laid side-by-side and end-to-end. By rights, they should be leisure cruise ships by now.

  36. Edgar Lores says:

    Attila,Mariano is obviously keeping dossiers on all misbehavin' government personnel. And his logic is impeccable: Filipinos are not a God-fearing people. Any my conclusion to his logic is: Because the Church is not Godly.

  37. With all due respect to the good Senator, and to be consistent in philosophy, separate military academies is the last thing the Philippines needs. It adds to the administrative bloat and assures duplicate facilities and staff and courses. What is required is a Military University with Army, Naval and Air Force colleges. Courses like mathematics and calesthentics and history and leadership are unified. Separate specialties develop in the upper grades. And the separate functions can work on integrating their acts. Marine corp is abandoned.

  38. Anonymous says:

    JoeAm, it'd be easier to be associated with rockets, not necessarily becoming a rocket scientist, to get near the girls. DocB

  39. I suspect you are right, but it's just a little late for that now. I'll convey that to my son however . . . not that he has any shortage of girl friends.

  40. Edgar Lores says:

    If it's a single college, close ties will be forged among the three branches for a single batch of Brothers as is happening at the PMA now. One of Boris' point is that that might facilitate military coups, and the chances of success are higher with the three arms coordinated. On the other hand, as you point out, the cost to avoid that risk is high.And is a single college viable, when the site requirements for training are different, such as nearness to sea for the navy, rugged terrain for the army, and runways and air space for the air force (Subic?) Just thinking out loud.

  41. Yes, I suppose. Air Force Academy in the US does provide rudamentary flight training in small trainers, and therefore has a small field. I'd think a suitable site could be found. Subic is one.But you and Boris raise an interesting point: coups. I look at the widespread operational coverage of the Philippines provided by 10 divisions and the army is in place to either stop an uprising or execute a coup and the martial law that would be required to carry it out. In that context, the coverage is not really necessarey IF we accept that coups become less and less of a risk as the period of good governance extends. It is rather a fascinating point to me, this total defensive blanket across the Philippines. We certainly know who the enemy is, eh?

  42. Boris says:

    Fortunately, the military has never acted as a single institution to just step in and take over. Hence the need to create points of rivalry and friction to keep them from ever doing so.

  43. I tell you, things are different here, for sure.

  44. JosephIvo says:

    I miss a few elements in the debate, just some bullet points:1- Individual Objectives, the army is more than an organization, it has members looking for income, career, development, achievements, respect, recognition (Garcia case…)2- Political objectives: security defend against or use coup’s (Enrile, Honasan, Trillianes…), perceptions, kick-backs (First Gentleman), …3- National objectives:3.1- Aid: National (linked to political objectives) and International (source of income)3.2- Defence / Prevent (+intelligence) / Deterrent / Security:Democratic ( + Catholic?) Ideas – Cyber world – Property – People3.3- Offence: same, Ideas (?) – Cyber world – Property – People4- Type of army: Professional – recruits – reserves – mixed5- Efficiency. A lean army with no waste. (The founder of my previous consultancy company was hired by Eisenhower when a missile landed 200 meters from the launching battleship on a demonstration for NATO colleagues. Consequently a drive to eliminate waste was set up: identifying waste as everything that did not contribute to prevent, detect or eliminate a potential threat. Each single bullet should kill) Offensive for property and people, guided missiles and drones the way to go.6- Accountability, transparency, freedom of information (Burgos)…

  45. I appreciate the bullets. Number 2 is intriguing; what you would find in the Philippines but not in the US. Number 3: interesting that you listed aid first. I suppose so, but they are not really hardline defense objectives, and I'd propose peeling them off to the "Federal Police" so the Army can focus on your Number 5. I see in todays news that the Supreme Court will force the Army to open up on Burgos. Maybe we will soon be able to get rid of Number 2 as a military objective.

  46. JosephIvo says:

    Aid as "preventive", internally people appreciating the army and internationally too. Always cheaper / better to prevent. Aid as testing the logistics, the organization, leadership, commitment… Aid as in "make love no war"!

  47. Ah, thanks. I know you detest war and believe every step should be taken to avoid it. Let me pose a scenario for you:The Philippines wins its UN arbitration that affirms a 200 nautical mile Economic Exclusion Zone.China refuses to accept the UN finding and does not leave the EEZ. Instead, she expands her presence by stationing boats in sea lanes, blocking Philippine military and coast guard ships, and puts men and structures on other islands within the EEZ.What do you do?

  48. JosephIvo says:

    Befriend North Korea and Pakistan, restart the nuclear plant in Bataan, build some more of them, parallel you invest secretly in a nuclear arsenal and be a realistic threat ,then you declare war. With a few conventional missiles and a few drones, the Chinese will not entertain you. The only realistic alternative is getting on a negotiation table with the support of some (strong) friends.

  49. Ah, well, I don't see the Philippines going rogue. Nor do I see China sitting at a negotiation table with the Philippines and friends. I CAN imagine a series of increasingly acrimonious conflicts creating a short, tempestuous flare-up before the Lone Ranger arrives on the scene to put some order to things. Then a long, unresolved standoff.Too bad.Rational people should be able to strike a fair negotiated settlement. But China is emotional people. And Filipinos are 100 percenters.

  50. Anonymous says:

    JoeAm, when Lone Ranger comes, he'll be alone, a real lone cowboy, and Tonto will have been Chinese…DocB

  51. Ha, perhaps so. Tonto . . . I never did trust him fully. Too mysterious. I think maybe he has scalps in his backpack.

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