Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) (Filipino: Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas) is composed of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force. The AFP is a volunteer force and has a total active strength of 125,000 with more than 130,000 personnel in reserve service.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution placed the AFP under the control of a civilian, the President of the Philippines, who acts as its Commander-in-Chief. All of its branches are part of the Department of National Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of National Defense.

The AFP has three major branches:

  • Philippine Army (PA) – Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas
  • Philippine Navy (PN) – Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas
  • Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) – Hukbong Kawal Pandagat ng Pilipinas
  • Philippine Air Force (PAF) – Hukbong Himpapawid ng Pilipinas

These three major branches are unified under a Chief of Staff who normally holds the rank of General/Admiral. He is assisted by a Vice Chief of Staff, normally holding the rank of Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral. Each of the three major branches are headed by an officer with the following titles: Commanding General of the Philippine Army (Lieutenant General), Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy (Vice Admiral), and Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force (Lieutenant General).

Former Branches

The Philippine Constabulary (PC) was a gendarmerie type para-military police force of the Philippines established in 1901 replacing the Guardia Civil by the United States-appointed administrative authority. On December 13, 1990, Republic Act No. 6975 was approved, organizing the Philippine National Police (PNP) consisting of the members of the Integrated National Police (INP) and the officers and enlisted personnel of the PC. Upon the effectivity of that Act, the PC ceased to be a major service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the INP ceased to be the national police force. On January 29, 1991, the PC and the INP were formally retired and the PNP was activated in their place.


Unified commands

Units from these three services may be assigned to one of several “Unified Commands”, which are multi-service, regional entities:

  • Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM)
  • Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM)
  • National Capital Region Command (NCRCOM)
  • Central Command (CENTCOM)
  • Western Command (WESCOM)
  • Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM)
  • Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM)

AFP-wide support and affiliate units

Several service-wide support services and separate units report directly to the AFP General Headquarters (AFP GHQ), these include:
General Headquarters and Headquarters Service Command (GHQ & HSC) (acts as the fourth Major Service Command repesenting the support and independent services of the Armed Forces)

  • Presidential Security Group (PSG)
  • Philippine Military Academy (PMA)
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College (AFPCGSC)
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Command (AFPRESCOM)
  • Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP)
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center (AFPMC)
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissary and Exchange Service (AFPCES)
  • Communications, Electronics and Information System Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CEISSAFP)
  • Civil Relations Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRSAFP)
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines, Dental Service Center (AFPDSC)