The Philippine Revolution and First Philippine Republic (1896–1901)Edit
The need of a naval force was illustrated when the Filipino revolutionaries included a provision in the Biak-na-Bato Constitution authorizing the government to license privateers to engage foreign enemy vessels.
In the English version of the same constitution, it was stipulated that after the army was organized, another such force should be created for the protection of the coasts of the Philippines and its seas, with a Secretary of the Navy being appointed to head this force.
The infant Philippine Navy was established during the Philippine Revolution, when General Emilio Aguinaldo formed the Revolutionary Navy, which then consisted of the pinnace Magdalo and several steam launches captured from the Spanish. The Navy refitted these for war and moved troops, arms, and supplies to the provinces. The Navy played a major role during the raid against the Spanish garrison and magazine on Bacoor Bay, the first amphibious assault by the Revolutionary Navy.
The fleet was later reinforced by armed merchant ships, including the Taal, the Taaleño, the Balayan, the Bulusan, and the Purisima Concepcion, which were donated to the Navy. Another significant addition was the 800-ton steamer Compania de Filipinas, which belonged to the Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas and was seized by the Cuban Vicente Catalan, who hoisted the Filipino flag on the ship and proclaimed himself Admiral of the Filipino Navy. The Germans then objected to the flying of the Filipino flag and the French, who claimed that they owned the ship, demanded its return.
Aguinaldo continued deploying the navy to various islands of the country to engage the Spanish forces and rally the Filipinos. On June 23, 1898, Aguinaldo officially established the Ministry of Foreign Relations and placed the bureaus of diplomacy, navy, and commerce under it.
On September 26, 1898, as tensions with the United States of America grew after the fall of Manila, Aguinaldo appointed Pascual Ledesma as the first Director of the Navy. In October 1898, U.S. Navy Commodore George Dewey began seizing vessels flying the Philippine flag. On January 21, 1899, the Malolos Constitution was passed and made the President of the new First Philippine Republic the commander-in-chief of the Army and the Navy and transferred the Bureau of the Navy from the Ministry of Foreign Relations to the Department of War, which thereafter became known as the Department of War and the Navy.
Dewey also began a naval blockade to prevent Aguinaldo's forces from conducting further operations, resulting in the complete destruction of the Philippine Republic's naval forces by 1901. h
American Colonial Period (1901–1941)Edit
The American colonial government in the Philippines created the Bureau of the Coast Guard and Transportation, which aimed to maintain peace and order, transport Philippine Constabulary troops throughout the archipelago, and to guard against smuggling and piracy. The Americans employed many Filipino sailors in this bureau and in the Bureaus of Customs and Immigration, Island and Inter-Island Transportation, Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Lighthouses.
The Americans also reopened the former Spanish colonial Escuela Nautica de Manila, which was renamed the Philippine Nautical School, adopting the methods of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. The U.S. Naval Academy accepted its first Filipino midshipman in 1919, and Filipinos were able to enlist in the U.S. Navy, just as they were formerly able to do in the Spanish Navy.
World War II (1941–1945)Edit
n 1935, the Commonwealth Government passed the National Defense Act, which aimed to ensure the security of the country. This was criticized because it placed the burden of the defense of the Philippines on ground forces, which in turn, was formed from reservists. It discounted the need for a Commonwealth air force and navy, and naval protection was provided by the United States Asiatic Fleet.
When World War II began, the Philippines had no significant naval forces after the United States withdrew the Asiatic Fleet following the Attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Philippines had to rely on its Offshore Patrol, composed of high-speed Thorneycroft Coast Motor Boat (CMB) 55-foot (17 m) and 65-foot (20 m) torpedo boats, to repel Japanese attacks from the sea.
During the course of the war, surviving personnel of the Offshore Patrol conducted guerilla hit-and-run attacks against the occupying Japanese forces.
Post-World War II and Cold WarEdit
In 1945, after the liberation of the Philippines, the Offshore Patrol was reactivated and was strengthened in 1947 after President of the Philippines Manuel Roxas issued Executive Order No. 94. This order elevated the Patrol to a major command that was equal with the Philippine Army, Constabulary, and Air Force. The Patrol was renamed the Philippine Naval Patrol, with Jose Andrada as its first commodore and chief.
In 1950, Secretary of Defense Ramon Magsaysay created a Marine battalion with which to carry out amphibious attacks against the Communist Hukbalahap movement. The next year, President Elpidio Quirino issued Executive Order No. 389, re-designating the Philippine Naval Patrol as the Philippine Navy. It was to be composed of all naval and Marine forces, combat vessels, auxiliary craft, naval aircraft, shore installations, and supporting units that were necessary to carry out all functions of the service.
In the succeeding decades, the Philippine Navy organized the following units (aside from the Marines):
- Naval Shore Establishment
- Naval Operating Forces
- Philippine Coast Guard
- Home Defense Command
- Military Sealift and Terminal Command
1960s and beyondEdit
By the 1960s, the Philippine Navy was one of the best-equipped navies in Southeast Asia. Many of the countries in the region gained independence between World War II and the 1960s, such as Indonesia, and sought assistance from the Philippine Navy in organizing their navies. In 1967, the maritime law enforcement functions of the Navy were transferred to the Philippine Coast Guard. The duties stayed with the Coast Guard when in the 1990s it became a independent service under the Department of Transportation and Communications.
After the 1960s, the government had to shift its attention towards the Communist insurgency which forced led to the strengthening of the Philippine Army and the Philippine Air Force while naval operations were confined to troop transport, naval gunfire support, and blockade.
Present situation/Modern WarfareEdit
The 1992 withdrawal of the United States from its bases in the Philippines, such as Subic Naval Base, forced the Philippine Navy to rely on its own resources. The withdrawal is now largely seen as the inevitable and natural consequence of the end of the Cold War following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.It also resulted in a security vacuum in the region where tensions owing to deep-seated historic animosities and geopolitical disputes persisted. The pull-out also drew renewed attention to potential flashpoints, such as the Korean Peninsula and the Spratly Islands, that could bring nations into open conflict in the future. These developments hastened the 1995 passage of the AFP Modernization Law by the Philippine Congress whose goal is to strengthen defense capabilities.
The Philippine Navy modernization Program (a major component of the AFP Modernization Plan) enumerates the projects and activities that the Navy will undertake to develop it into a competent armed maritime force capable of providing a credible measure of deterrence. Modernization is also expected to greatly enhance the Navy’s capacity to fulfill certain non-traditional tasks it has assumed as a result of recent international developments. This program will definitely ensure effective off shore monitoring of the country’s maritime sovereignty .
Although relatively ill equipped, it has been stipulated that with just a few number of comparatively modern landing ships and a small but well-disciplined Marine Corps, the Philippines would appear to be well-equipped to perform amphibious assaults if required. However, the shortage of surface combatants (currently there are only two capable ships) and limited naval aviation assets, it would limit the Navy's capacity to that of preemptive and administrative landings only, as opposed to aggressive assaults against enemy-occupied installations (as in the case of the Spratly Islands conflict).
The navy does possess eight landing ships, each carrying two LCVPs, which could be deployed in small-scale preemptive landings. Six of these ships can each carry up to sixteen (16) light armored vehicles. Therefore this amphibious force would therefore be more likely to be used in internal security operations rather than in expeditionary force projection overseas.
Based on current circumstances and future outlooks, the Philippine government is prioritizing the modernization of its armed forces. As a developing sovereign and peace loving nation, the country has the right to defend its borders and territories against foreign aggressors and bullies. With new equipment and current technologies, the Philippine navy should be able to perform its mandates.
The Philippine Navy, together with the entire armed forces as a whole, is embarking on a modernization and upgrade program under the Capability Upgrade Program (CUP). This is in line with the Philippine Navy Strategic Sail Plan 2020.
Hamilton Class Vessel (Ocean-going Escort Vessel)Edit
On early 2011, the Philippine Navy announced the acquisition of an ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton Class High-endurance cutter and expected it to be ready for active deployment by the middle of the same year. The first ship acquired was the former USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715), renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar which was officially turned-over to the Philippine Navy on 13 May 2011 at Alameda Point in California. It was retrofitted and modified in the US, replacing systems removed by the USCG. The ship's arrival ceremonies were on 23 August 2011 in Manila, and was commissioned on 14 December 2011.
A Philippine Navy team led by Rear Admiral Orwen Cortez made a Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) of South Carolina-based USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716) from October 31 to November 5, 2011. The U.S. government confirmed the release of USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716) to the Philippine government, which would be decommissioned from the U.S. Coast Guard on 30 March 2012. A third Hamilton class ship is also projected to be procured by 2013,
Multi-purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC)Edit
The Philippine Navy received a first batch of three (3) Philippine-designed, Taiwanese-built Multi-purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC), which is similar to the Swedish Combat Boat 90. These were presented during the 111th Navy Anniversary last May 2009.
The boats are around 15 meters long and are equipped with a water jet system. It has a maximum speed of 40 knots (74 km/h) and could reach around 300 nautical miles (560 km) while traveling on a transit speed of 30 knots (56 km/h). It is made of welded aluminum and can carry 16 fully equipped soldiers and 4 crew members or a payload of 2 tons. The ships are armed with one 50-caliber machine gun and two 7.62mm machine guns.
At least 9 more units are reportedly being expected for delivery in the near future, with the bidding for the 2nd lot of 3 units already done. Expected delivery is 2nd half of 2011.
Amphibious Transport Dock (Multi-role Vessel)Edit
The Department of National Defense (DND) is reportedly rushing the acquisition of one or two multi-role vessels for the Philippine Navy through government-to-government contract at a cost of 5 to 10 billion pesos. Initially the reported source of the said ships are either South Korea or Singapore. Previous statements and news reports point out that the Multi-role Vessels are comparable to Landing Platform Docks operated by foreign navies like the Singaporean Endurance class or the Spanish Galicia class. It was confirmed later on that the ship would be from South Korea  and is a variant of the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) Makassar class LPD, and is packaged with four (4) units Samsung Techwin KAAV-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), two (2) units Landing Craft Utility LCU-23M, four (4) units 9.8 meter Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boats, one (1) unit truck-based Mobile Hospital, two (2) units Kia KM-250 2½ ton troop trucks, two (2) units Kia KM-450 1¼ ton troop trucks, two (2) units Kia KM-450 Ambulance, two (2) units Kia Retona 1/4 ton utility vehicles, and one (1) unit forklift/cargo handling equipment.
On May 2011, reports surfaced on the possible acquisition of three (3) landing platform docks from Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL. This would be of indigenous design and will have no resemblance to the previously constructed model for the Indonesian Navy, the Makassar class, which was of South Korean origin. This would represent another option as South Korea has been reportedly pushing for the sale of at least one (1) platform based on, incidentally, the Indonesian Navy Makassar class. As of December 2011, the Philippine Navy was already cleared to start negotiations for the ship/s from any friendly nations with a budget of PhP 5 billion.
Landing Craft Utility (LCU)Edit
The construction of a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) was awarded on March 2010 to a joint venture of local shipbuilders Philippine Iron Construction and Marine Works (PICMW) Inc. and PROPMECH Corporation. It was commissioned with the Philippine Navy on 14 December 2011 as BRP Tagbanua (AT-296).
Offshore Patrol VesselEdit
Media reports of the Philippine Navy's plan to purchase three (3) Offshore Patrol Vessels was made, although there were no details available regarding their specifications. However, only two (2) units were listed as part of the priority items in the list for purchase between 2012 to 2016 presented by the armed forces to the House of Representatives’ committee on national defense and security last 26 January 2011.
Strategic sealift vesselEdit
A proposal to acquire a strategic sealift vessel, which is a converted Ro-Ro (Roll On - Roll Off) vessel from Japan was recommended by the Center of Naval Leadership & Excellence as of 2009. Purchase and technical assistance will be provided by the DBP Maritime Leasing Corporation Inc. (DMLC). It is one of the priority items in the wish list for purchase between 2012 to 2016 presented by the armed forces to the House of Representatives’ committee on national defense and security last 26 January 2011.
Latest reports indicate the initial purchase of 2 units of multi-purpose shipboard helicopters to be assigned to the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and another upcoming ex-USCG cutter. There were no specific models specified yet, although consideration for the ship's telescopic hangar may dictate the helicopter's size. As of 14 December 2011 it was announced that the navy will purchase 5 shipboard helicopters, in contrast to the earlier announcement of only 2 units.
An additional BO-105C turned-over by the Philippine Department of Tourism was commissioned on 14 December 2011 as PNH-422 and may act as a temporary ship-borne helicopter asset for BRP Gregorio del Pilar while awaiting for new anti-submarine helicopters be procured.
Deep Water Patrol Vessel (DWPV)Edit
This requirement came out during the recent visit to Italy of a Philippine delegation led by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. The Philippine DND delegation signed an agreement with their Italian counterparts for possible purchase of Italian weapons systems. This visit include inspections of combat ready ships of the Maestrale and Soldati classes of the Italian Navy, which are scheduled for retirement, with the earliest possibly by 2013. No indication of sales was made yet.
The Philippine Navy is administered through the Department of National Defense (DND). Under the AFP structure, the Chief of Staff, AFP (CSAFP), a four-star General, is the most senior military officer. The senior naval officer is the Flag Officer-in-Command (FOIC), usually with a rank of Vice-Admiral. He or she, along with his or her Air Force and Army counterparts, is junior only to the CSAFP. The FOIC is solely responsible for the administration and operational status of the Navy.
Currently the Navy establishment is actually composed of two (2) type commands, the Philippine Fleet and Philippine Marine Corps (PMC). It is further organized into seven (7) Naval Operational Commands, five (5) Naval Support Commands, and seven (7) Naval Support Units. Considering the vastness of the territorial waters that the Navy has to protect and defend, optimal deployment of naval resources is achieved through identification of suitable locations where the presence of these units are capable of delivering responsive services.
The Philippine Fleet, or simply the "Fleet", is under the direct command of the Commander Phil. Fleet while the Marine Corps is answerable to the Commandant, PMC (CPMC). However, due to the fact that the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is a large part of the Philippine Navy, the FOIC retains much administrative control over the PMC.
The seven Naval Operation Commands are as follows:
- Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NAVFORNOL)
- Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL)
- Naval Forces West (NAVFORWEST)
- Naval Forces Central (NAVFORCEN)
- Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NAVFORWESMIN)
- Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NAVFOREASTMIN)
- Fleet Marine Ready Force
NAVFORWEM and NAVFOREM were formed in August 2006 when Southern Command was split to allow more effective operations against Islamist and communist rebels within the region.
The five (5) Naval Support Commands are as follows:
- Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC)
- Naval Education and Training Command (NETC)
- Naval Reserve Command (NAVRESCOM)
- Naval Construction Brigade (NCBde)
- Philippine Naval Base Cavite
The Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC), formerly known Naval Support Command (NASCOM), is the biggest industrial complex of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It operates the country's military shipyards, develops new technologies for the Navy, and conducts maintenance on all the Navy's ships. NSSC's principal facilities are at the offshore operating base at Muelle de Codo and at Fort San Felipe in Cavite City.
The Naval Education & Training Command (NETC) is the Philippine Navy's institution of learning. Its mission is to provide education and training to naval personnel so that they may be able to pursue progressive naval careers. NETC is located in Naval Station San Miguel, San Antonio, Zambales.
The Naval Reserve Command (NAVRESCOM) organizes, trains, and keeps tabs on all naval reservists (which includes the Naval Reserve Corps Training Units midshipmen and midshipwomen). It is responsible for recalling reservists to meet sudden spikes in military manpower demand, as for war, rebellion or natural disaster. The NAVRESCOM is presently based at Fort Santiago, Manila. It was formerly known as the Home Defense Command.
The Naval Construction Brigade (NCBde), more popularly known as the "SeaBees", is tasked with naval construction and combat engineering operations. It primarily performs construction and rehabilitation of piers, harbors and beach facilities, harbor clearing and salvage works, construction of roads, bridges and other vital infrastructures.
Naval Base Cavite (NBC) provides support services to the Philippine Navy and other AFP tenant units in the base complex, such as refueling, re-watering, shore power connections, berthing, ferry services, tugboat assistance, sludge disposal services and housing.
The seven (7) Naval Support Units are as follows:
- Naval Intelligence and Security Force
- Philippine Navy Finance Center
- Naval Logistics Center
- Manila Naval Hospital
- Cavite Naval Hospital
- Bonifacio Naval Station
- Headquarters Philippine Navy & Headquarters Support Group
The Philippine Navy has only one fleet, the Philippine Fleet. The terms "Philippine Navy" and "Philippine Fleet" are therefore interchangeable. As a type command, the Fleet has four (4) major units: the Ready Force, Service Force, Patrol Force, and Assault Craft Force; one (1) support group, the Fleet Support Group; and two (2) special units, the Naval Air Group and Naval Special Warfare Group.
The first female officers who served as officers-in-charge of a diesel fast craft (DF-343) were 1LT's Dahlia Ong Nograles and Ester Santos Bautista WAC(PN) with twelve female crews from April 1995 to 1996. They were tagged as the First "All Female Crew" of the Philippine Navy during the leadership of then Vice Admiral Pio Carranza AFP, Flag Officer-In-Command, PN.
The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is organized into three (3) active-duty Marine Brigades (comprising a total of ten (10) Marine battalions); the 7th Marine Brigade NCR (Active Ready Reserve); the Combat Service and Support Brigade; the Marine Security and Escort Group; and various support and independent units.
In line with HPN General Order No. 229 dated 7 July 2009, the Philippine Navy has adopted new names for its bases and stations to pay homage to distinguished naval leaders. The new base names, followed by the old base names are as follows:
- Naval Base Heracleo Alano (Naval Base Cavite) - Headquarters, Philippine Fleet
- Naval Base Camilo Osias (Naval Operating Base San Vicente), San Vicente, Santa Ana, Cagayan
- Naval Base Rafael Ramos (Naval Operating Base Mactan), Mactan, Cebu
- Naval Station Jose Andrada (Fort San Antonio Abad), City of Manila - Current headquarters of the Philippine Navy
- Naval Station Jose Francisco (Bonifacio Naval Station), Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila
- Naval Station Pascual Ledesma (Fort San Felipe), Cavite City
- Naval Station Ernesto Ogbinar (Naval Station Poro Point), Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union - Headquarters of NAVFORNOL
- Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui (Naval Station San Miguel), San Antonio, Zambales
- Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoon (Naval Station Puerto Princesa), Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
- Naval Station Carlito Cunanan (Naval Station Ulugan), Ulugan, Palawan
- Naval Station Narciso Del Rosario (Naval Station Balabac), Balabac Island, Palawan
- Naval Station Emilio Liwanag (Naval Station Pag-asa), Pag-asa, Kalayaan Islands, Palawan
- Naval Station Julhasan Arasain (Naval Station Legaspi), Rawis, Legazpi City, Albay - Headquarters of NAVFORSOL
- Naval Station Alfonso Palencia (Naval Station Guimaras), Guimaras
- Naval Station Dioscoro Papa (Naval Station Tacloban), Tacloban City, Leyte
- Naval Station Felix Apolinario (Naval Station Davao), Panacan, Davao City - Headquarters of NAVFOREM
- Naval Station Romulo Espaldon (Naval Station Zamboanga), Calarian, Zamboanga City
- Naval Station Juan Magluyan (Naval Operating Base Batu-Batu), Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi
- Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown (Marine Base Manila), Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila - Headquarters, Philippine Marine Corps
- Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim (Marine Base Ternate), Ternate, Cavite
- Marine Barracks Arturo Asuncion (Marine Base Zamboanga), Zamboanga City
- Marine Barracks Domingo Deluana (Marine Base Tawi-Tawi), Tawi-Tawi
- Camp Gen. Teodulfo Bautista, Jolo, Sulu