HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 6 no. 2 (2006)

Assessing the Expanded Role of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Nation-Building

Dencio S. Acop

Discipline: Social Science



Apart from traditionally fighting the nation's wars, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has often played a crucial developmental role in nation-building. Whether such should continue or not, this paper argues that the expansion or diminution of the AFP's nation-building role ultimately depends upon its eventual impact not only on the development of the organization or the nation but on the very survival of the state itself. Supporting its argument, the paper finds evidence in the nation-building history of the AFP during five periods, beginning with the revolutionary era between 1896 and 1901, and concluding with the post-EDSA period up until the present time.

Based on the evidence, it seems apparent that the traditional nation-building role is still best for the AFP and the country, although certain modifications may be in need of adoption. First, the AFP needs to focus more on its core competency of war-fighting than its civil-related activities, given its limited resources. Second, the AFP needs to be streamlined so that the remaining mainstream force composes the combat arms. Third, government has to seriously enhance the AFP's material and technical capabilities. And finally, the restoration of unit cohesiveness and the culture of excellence in the AFP must be made a priority if the organization is to remain effective. This includes the elimination of members whose values, character, and behavior do not reflect the best ideals of soldiery.