Philippine Islands lay off the East Asian Coast, and
for hundreds of years formed an important part of
Spain's overseas empire. Long after Spain lost its
large and rich American possessions, the Philippines
(along with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam) remained
Spain's last colonies. Filipinos however, wanted
independence, and waged many revolts against Spanish
rule. The last such uprising is called the Philippine
War of Independence, but it was interrupted in 1898 by
Spain's short, but sharp war with the United States.
American forces destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila
Bay, and accetped the surrender of the capital of
Manila from the Spanish authorities. Soon thereafter,
American and Filipino forces began fighting what at
the time was referred to (by Americans) as the
Philippine Insurrection. It more accurately is now
known as the Philippine-American
The Philippines became
an American possession, but eventually, the U.S.
decided it did not want colonies, so , as early as
1916, the Philippines were promised eventual
independence. That freedom was delayed by
War Two, in
which the Philippines were invaded and occupied by
Japan. Following World War Two's conclusion, the
Philippines became independent on July 4, 1946.
the Philippines has sent troops overseas several times
as an ally of the United States, and has also endured
several rebellions, coups, and religious and political
strife. Below is a listing of the wars and conflicts
of the Philippines from the 1890s to the
and ongoing conflicts are in bold face.
Revolution (1896-1898) --
War I (1914-1918)
--Techically, the Philippines were involved in World
War I on the Allied side as a possession of the United
States, but no Filipino military units saw combat.
Individual Filipino soldiers did serve in combat as
members of the U.S. armed forces.
War Two (1939-1945)--
Hukbalahap Rebellion (1946-1954)
--A Communist rebellion against the Manila government.
The rebels were known as "Huks" and were defeated in
1954 through a combination of government military
action and civic reforms. The name of the communist
rebel forces in the Filipino language of Tagalog it is
"Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon."
Philippines entered the Korean War in August 1950 as
part of the United Nations forces fighting against the
North Korean invasion of South Korea. The Filipino
forces included 7,500 combat troops.
The Philippine Civic Action Group to Vietnam
(PHILCAG-V) was sent to South Vietnam to aid the
Saigon government in its struggle with the Viet Cong
and North Vietnam. These forces included medical and
engineering units to conduct civic projects to help
the Vietnamese people.
Maoist Rebellion (1969-Present)--The
New People's Army (NPA), is the military wing of the
Communist Party of the Philippines, and began a
guerrila campaign against the government in 1969. The
conflict continues to the present day. The NPA forces
are also known as "Huks," in connection with the
Hukbalahap war of the 1940s and 1950s. The NPA's name
in the Filipino language of Tagalog it is "Bagong
Muslim Rebellion in the
Southern Philippines (1969-Present): Muslim
rebel groups seek autonomy/independence from the
mostly Christian Philippines. The rebels originally
sought independence for the Muslim region. One of the
primary rebel groups, the Moro National Liberation
Front, signed an agreement with the Manila government
in 1996 that granted autonomy. Some rebel groups
continued to fight on, but through negotiations that
concluded in 2012, the main rebel Muslim group, the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front, agreed to drop the
demand for an independent Muslim nation.
This conflict also involves the Abu Sayyaf rebel
group, which is known to have ties to al-Qaida. Abu
Sayyaf formed in 2008.
Since the Muslim Rebellion began in 1969, over
120,000 people have died, and at least two million
others have been displaced due to the violence.
law over the entire nation instituted by President
People Power Revolution of 1986 (also known as the
EDSA Revolution and the Philippine Revolution of
1986) was a series
of nonviolent mass street demonstrations in the
Philippines in 1986, in protest of an election in
which the reigning dictator, Ferdinand Marcos was
declared the winner over challenger Corazon Aquino.
The election was widely seen as fraudulent, and huge
demonstrations forced Marcos to go into exile. The
massive protests were aided by rebel military forces
belonging to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement
(RAM), a military group seeking reforms. The result of
this largely peaceful revolution was the end of the
Marcos dictatorship, and the ascension of Corazon
Aquino to power as president.
July, 1986 through August, 1987, six attempts were
made to overthrow President Corazon Aquino's
government. Some of the coups were in support of the
exiled former-president Marcos, and some were launched
by members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement
(RAM) . All ended in failure.
Hotel plot (July 6-8,1986)-500
armed soldiers and 5,000 civilians loyal to
Ferdinand Marcos occupied the Manila Hotel for 37
hours. This confrontation ended peacefully.
Save the Queen" plot (November 22,
troops attempted to march on the government but
were blocked by loyal troops. The rebels returned
peacefully to their barracks.
Attempt "GMA-7 Incident" (January 27-29,
soldiers led by Colonel Oscar Canlas seized control
of the main compound of GMA Network (a television
network) in Quezon City, while other troops
unsuccessfully attempted to capture the Sangley
Point Air Force Base in Cavite. One rebel soldier
was killed, and thirty five people were
Saturday" incident (April 18,
soldiers raided Fort Bonifacio. Loyal troops beat
back the attack, killing 1 rebel
International Airport plot (July
troops plotted another coup attempt through a
military takeover of the Manila International
Airport. The plan was never executed due to a leak
to the authorities. Several military officers were
attempt (August 28-29,1987)-Military
coup led by Colonel Gregorio Honosan in which the
presidential palace and several military bases were
attacked by rebel forces. Loyal troops defeated
this rebellion. This attempted coup resulted in 53
dead and more than 200 wounded. Most of the
casualties were civilians. Honosan was arrested
after several months on the run, but later escaped
and led the 1989 Coup Attempt.
Attempt (December 1-9, 1989)--The
most serious coup attempt against President Aquino.
The official casualty list included 99 dead (including
50 civilians) and 570 wounded. Under orders from
President George H.W. Bush, the United States military
supported the Aquino government during this coup.
Operation "Classic Resolve" involved the use of U.S.
airpower from the USS Midway and USS Enterprise
aircraft carriers and F-5 fighters from Clark Air Base
in the Philippines. The U.S. planes had clearance to
"...buzz the rebel planes at their base, fire in front
of them if any attempted to take off, and shoot them
down if they did".
medical personnel were sent to assist the American-led
coalition in the war with Iraq.
The Philippines sent 60 medics, engineers and other
troops to assist in the invasion of Iraq. The troops
were withdrawn on the 14th of July, 2004. Several
Filipino soldiers received combat wounds, but no