During the period of the Americans until 1991 the Philippines has one of the most modern armed forces in the world, and even second in Asia. The Air Force was best equipped in the entire Asia with more fighter jets than pilots, all were handed down by the US. After the departure of the Americans in 1991 and the scrapping of a multi-billion peso armed forces budget the quality of the military was at its lowest level, having only a strike wing of trainer jets and owning some equipments aging for about 40 years.
The Philippines faces a number of enemies, both internal and external forces. The rebel force it faces has a total number 50,000 fighters from 4 different groups, the Fake Communist New People’s Army, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayaff. Both MNLF and MILF are in good terms with the governments but fighting continues in the southern part of the country. The fake communist guerillas tries to hurt the government by burning down cell site towers and other establishments, the military unable and incapable of stopping such crime. The Abu Sayaff playing mind games by doing kidnappings and killings, recently a politician from Basilan Island.
Insurgency shouldn’t be a problem for a country once great like the Philippines, especially with its experienced soldiers. Especially not one lasting for almost 40 years. All it needs to do is secure the most modern weapons and equipment to help them fight against the enemy.
Internal rebel forces aren’t the only problem the military faces, in 2005 President Arroyo released a criticizing comment against the North Korean Nuclear Program and as a result the North Koreans has several ballistic warheads pointed at the Philippines. Something the armed forces are not capable of intercepting.
The country also needs to strengthen its claims over the Spratlys Islands, which are being taken by neighbouring countries Vietnam, China and Taiwan all with military force exerted. Something the Philippines cannot follow. The Navy deploys frigates and corvettes and some trainer jets in the islands but are beaten by Chinese figher jets, Taiwanese Submarines and elite Malaysian battleships.
The Philippine Government are exerting a lot of effort to make the nation great again, now where can you find a “great” nation with a weak military? The first step to greatness is respect, and it seems respect can only be achieved by fear.