Philippine Armed Forces



Department of National Defense

The Philippine Armed Forces



Air Force



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Department of National Defense



The Seal of the Department of National Defense shows the National Arms of the Philippines from which the eagle and the lion in the second and third quarters are omitted.

The legend reads: KAGAWARAN NG TANGGULANG PAMBANSA é REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS é (Department of National Defense, Republic of the Philippines).


The Philippine Armed Forces



The emblem of the armed forces of the Philippines is a three-pointed star equally divided in three parts, the dexter Azure, the sinister Gules and the base Or, charged with an eight-rayed sun, charged with a stylized version of  a  “K”  in Tagalog script for the Tagalog word Kalayaan, meaning “Freedom”.

The star is surrounded by a garland of laurel proper, crested with three golden five-pointed stars and with a scroll Azure with the word PHILIPPINES in black lettering in base.


An ancient version shows the star white, the sun, stars and garland yellow and the scroll blue





The flag of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has horizontal stripes, representing the three major services of the armed forces: green (Army), royal/light blue (Air Force), navy blue (Navy); and on the center is placed the Coat of Arms of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


Chief Staff of the Armed Forces - Commanding General




Flag Chief  Staff  PAF







Seal Office Commanding General PAF







The Philippine Army has its origins in  the Katipunan or Freedom Fighters from the end of the 19th century.

The Katipunan or KKK (Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or “Supreme and Venerable Society of the Children of the Nation”) was founded by Filipino rebels in Manila on July 7, 1892.

Influenced by the Masonic Order, the Katipunan was established as a secret, fraternal society, complete with Masonic rituals, blood oaths, coded passwords, and an aura of religious mystery. Women were admitted later, although most were exempted from the blood-letting rites.

The founders  - all freemasons - were: Andres Bonifacio, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, Deodato Arellano, Valentin Diaz, Jose Dizon and a few others.

They met secretly at a house on Azcarraga (now Claro M. Recto Avenue), near Elcano Street, Tondo district. 

The Katipunan - composed of the common people, with only a sprinkling of the well-to-do middle class - aimed at liberating the country from Spanish tyranny by preparing the people for an armed conflict. Thus the Katipunan was founded on a radical platform, namely, to secure the independence and freedom of the Philippines by force of arms. [1]


The flags of the KKK were all red and showed the initials of the movement or a sun.



Two seals of the K.K.K.,

the one on the left showing the emblem of the K.K.K. consisting of a sun radiant between two stars, above three hills and the letters K.K.K. in base. This seal is surrounded by the legend: JEFATURA MILITAR  I ZONA .

The one on the right shows the same emblem. The legend of this seal is ó 22 JEFE P.M.ó ANBOSKA-MARINIS.

The emblem of the army of the First Republic, used 1897-1901, was apparently strongly influenced by the seal of the K.K.K.. It showed the arms of the Republic augmented with four hills in base and was encircled by the legend EJERCITO EN LA REPUBLICA DELA FILIPINA.




Army Emblem 1935-1957


During the Commonwealth period the emblem of the Philippine Army consisted of the  American Eagle with the arms of the Commonwealth replacing the arms of the United States. The constellation of stars within a cloud was replaced by the three stars from the arms. The emblem was used until long after independence.


Army Emblem 1957-1959


At the reorganization of the Army Headquarters in 1957 HPA Circular No 1 was issued on 25 September 1957  laying down that the sleeve-patch of the Philippine Army would be of a maroon color, with a white bordure, charged with a white equilateral triangle with a letter A of the first.

The maroon color was the color of the army at the time. The white equilateral triangle symbolizes honor and integrity and the “A” is for “Army”. 


Army Emblem 1959-1965


On 25 July 1959 the color navy-blue was adopted as the color of the Philippine Army. Accordingly by HPA Circular No 2 of 23 November 1959 the color of flags and other emblems of the army was changed from maroon to navy-blue.


Army Emblem 1965-1970


In 1965 the army emblem was changed. The new emblem had the form of a pavese, a large convex shield made to protect the whole body. It was black with a golden rim and charged with the Philippine sun, with the Tagalog letter “K” in red in the middle, between three golden five-pointed stars.


Army Emblem 1970-1977


On 5 Januray 1970 the emblem of 1965 was replaced by the former navy-blue patch of 1959


The actual emblem of the army is:

Arms: Vert, an equilateral triangle Gules, charged with a eight-rayed sun Or with the Tagalog letter “K” Sable in the middle, between three five-pointed stars Or.

Motto: HUKBONG KATIHAN NG PILIPINAS 1897 (Land Forces of the Philippines, 1897) in black lettering on a golden ring.


đ See illustration in the head of this section.




In the emblem


The triangle symbolizes the three principles of state-doctrine Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (borrowed from the motto of the French Republic).

The three stars symbolize the three main divisions of the Philipine Archipelago: Luzon, Vizayas and Mindanao.

The eight-rayed sun represents the first eight provinces put under martial law by the Spaniards at the beginning of the Philippine Revolution in 1896.

The Tagolog letter “K” is the initial of the Tagalog word Kalayaan, meaning “Freedom”.

Red is the traditional color of the armed (land-)forces.

The date 1897 commemorates the transition of the revolutionary army into regular forces under the command of General Emilio Aguinaldo. [2]







In 1935, the Commonwealth Government passed a National Defense Act which aimed to ensure the security of the country. However it discounted the need for a Commonwealth air force and navy, and naval protection was provided by the United States Asiatic Fleet. During WW II, after Pearl Harbor, the Philippines had to rely on their Offshore Patrol to repel Japanese attacks from the sea. In 1945, the Offshore Patrol was reactivated and was strengthened in 1947 after President Manuel Roxas had 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 Philippine Naval Patrol.


US-Navy Seal

In 1950, a Marine battalion was created and the next year, President Elpidio Quirino issued Executive Order No. 389, re-designating the Philippine Naval Patrol as the Philippine Navy.




Seal: Azure, an anchor per bend sinister charged with a sea-lion proper, surrounded by a bordure Argent surrounded on both sides with a cable and with the legend HUKBONG DAGAT PILIPINAS (Philippine Naval Forces) in blue lettering, and two stars Or.


đ See illustration in the head of this section.


The original version (1950) shows two anchors in saltire charged with a disc with two armed sea-lions respecting, all in navy-blue color.

Air Force





The Philippine Air Force was established in 1935 as the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps. The Corps was dissolved in 1941 and re-established in 1945 as the Philippine Air Force. Its name was translated later into Filipino Hukbong Himpapawid ng Pilipinas.


The emblem of the Philippine Air Force consists of a red, white and blue lozenge with a golden pair of wings. It is surrounded by the name of the service and three five-pointed stars, all on a blue background. At the end of the 20th century the emblem was restyled and the name of the service translated.


đSee illustration in the head of thsi section.




It is said that the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps used a lozenge of red, white and blue between 1935 and 1941. The present roundel consists of the same lozenge but with a white, blue-bordered pair of wings added. A version of this roundel is known existing of a red, white and blue diamond with a pair of wings.


Roundel of the PAF, 1945.



Different version of the roundel (2002)





The Philippine National Police (PNP) (Filipino: Pambansang Pulisya ng Pilipinas) is the national police force of the Republic of the Philippines. It is both a national and a local police force in that it provides all law enforcement services throughout the Philippines. The Philippine National Police, which was a result of a merger of the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police, was activated on January 29, 1991.


The Arms 


The arms of the Philippine National Police are:


Arms: Quarterly Murray and Gules, an eight-rayed sun Or, charged with the Lapu-Lapu Hero Sable, in chief three five-pointed stars Or and the name of the service PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE in white lettering, in base a scroll Argent with the motto SERVICE HONOR JUSTICE in blue lettering and two branches of laurel Vert below. [3]


đ See illustration in the head of this section.



The Lapu-Lapu statue in Mactan



Traditional Kalinga shield

The symbolism of the arms is as follows:


The Sun - Symbolizes the hope of a succesful integration of the PC and INP into a National Police Organization - as provided for in the 1986 Constitution..


The Lapu-Lapu Hero - Lapu-Lapu (1491–1542) was the datu of Mactan, an island in the Visayas, who is known as the first native of the archipelago to have resisted Spanish colonization. He is now regarded as the first Filipino hero.

For the PNP Lapu-Lapu is “the prototype of the best and most noble in Filipino manhood who is the symbol and embodiment of all the genuine attributes of leadership”. He also personifies civilian constitutional authority.


The Three Stars symbolize Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and the 1,700 islands on which the National Police must enforce the law and maintain peace and order.


Motto: Service • Honor • Justice - are the basic principles of the PNP organisation.


The Laurel branches with 14 leaves each  symbolize the 14 Regional Commands.


í  The form of the shield is inspired by an ancient warrior shield from Kalinga-Apayo province on Northern Luzon. It imitates a man with uprised arms and frequently was embellished with geometric patterns directly linked to marks tattooed on men’s forearms. [4]

The shield of Lapu-Lapu is of the form in former times common on Southeastern Mindanao.


The Badge




The badge of the Philippine National Police, worn on the left breast shows:


Arms: The arms of the Philippine National Police Or

Garland: Branches of laurel Or

Name of the Service: PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE in golden lettering on a red ring surrounding a disc Azure.

Supporter: A Philippine Eagle Or holding a scroll with the rank of the bearer in blue lettering

In base a scroll with the identification number of the bearer.




The Philippine Constabulary (PC) (Filipino: Hukbóng Pamayapâ ng Pilipinas) (HPP) was established on August 8, 1901, by authority of Act. No. 175 of the Philippine Commission, to assist the United States military in combating the remaining Filipino revolutionaries then led by General Emilio Aguinaldo. It was integrated and replaced by the current Philippine National Police on the 29th of January, 1991.







Badge of the Philippine Constabulary



ď  Arms of  the Philippine Constabulary

(No colors known)




The Integrated National Police (INP) (Filipino: Pinagsamang Pulisyang Pambansa) (PPP) was established in 1975. It served basically as the municipal police force for the cities and large towns of the country.

Until the mid-1970s, the independent city and municipal police forces took charge of maintaining peace and order on a local level, calling on the PC for aid when the need arose.

The 1973 constitution provided for the integration of public safety forces. Several presidential decrees were subsequently issued, integrating the police, fire, and jail services in the 1,500 cities and municipalities into the INP. On August 8, 1975, Presidential Decree 765 officially established the joint command structure of the Philippine Constabulary and Integrated National Police. It was integrated and replaced by the current Philippine National Police on the 29th of January, 1991.



Arms of the Integrated National Police




Badge of the Integrated National Police



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© Hubert de Vries 2010-08-27


[1] )  From: Dumindin, Armando:  The Philippine Army: From “Katipuneros” to “Soldiers”.

[2] )  From: Flags and Symbols of the Philippines.

[3] )  PNP Seal and Badge:

[4] )  Picture from:  Shields. Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Münich, 2000. No 51.