AFP Capability and Strength During Marcos’ Regime
The Philippines once possessed one of the strongest military forces in Asia that one can only imagine today. The Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Army were strongest Military Force the Philippines had during the Marcos administration.
Since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo on 1991 where most of the PAF’s fighter jets were destroyed, the Philippine airspace remains unguarded until today.
Let’s take a look at the Philippine’s major assets during the time of late President Ferdinand Marcos administration.
High Endurance Cutters
The Philippine Navy had four high-endurance cutters armed with artilleries and heavy chain guns. All four were acquired on 1976 and were deployed on Philippine coasts. BRP Andres Bonifacio, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, BRP Diego Silang, and BRP Francisco Dagohoy
The Philippine Navy acquired three destroyer escorts during Marcos administration. BRP Raja Lakandula, BRP Datu kalantiaw, and BRP Datu Sikatuna. BRP Datu Marikudo, a 56-meter corvette was acquired on 1976 from the United States through South Vietnam. Marikudo was retired from service on December 9, 2010.
BRP Datu Tupas was one of the only two fleet minesweepers in the history of Philippine navy. The other one was RPS Samar which was retired before the BRP Datu Tupas was acquired. There is no information about the fate of Datu Tupas after the EDSA I Revolution.
Two submarine chaser boats were acquired during Marcos era. The BRP Nueva VIscaya and BRP Negros Oriental acquired on 1968 and 1976 respectively were high speed patrol boats capable of chasing and destroying earlier submarines.
There were two coastal acquired and in service during Marcos regime, the RPS Zambales and RPS Zamboanga del Norte, both acquired on 1979
Two minesweepers were acquired and put in active service on 1979. The RPS Davao del Norte and RPS Davao del Sur
Amphibious Warfare Vessels
From 1969 to 1978, the Philippine Navy acquired at least twenty six (26) amphibious attack and support vessels of any size. And some of which are still in active military service.
Philippine navy had one hospital ship acquired on 1975, the RPS Hospital ng Tulungan. There was no information on what happened to this ship.
BRP Mactan was acquired on March 1972 and retired from service on 2001.
Philippine Navy had one repair ship acquired in 1999 and decommission on June 2001.
Unspecified number of tug boats and small patrol crafts were also acquired during the Marcos presidency.
Philippine Air Force
The Philippine airspace was well protected by Philippine Air Force during the Marcos era. PAF had 35 units of Vought F-8 Crusader, and 37 units Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter. Most of these fighter jets were destroyed during the Pinatubo eruption and had never been replaced until the Pnoy administration ordered 12 units of FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea recently.
Aside from the above squadrons of fighters, a number of fighter and attack helicopters, trainer and cargo jets were acquired from 1966 to 1988.
Philippine Army truck loaded with Bongbong i launcher and rockets, developed during Marcos era under Sta. Ana Missile Program
The Philippine Army in a secret program developed a locally-made missile called Bongbong I. The report said that the Santa Clara Missile Program had successfully tested 37 times in Caballo Islands. The program was disbanded and was never put in active service when Marcos was removed from the government. The missile program was developed while China was still developing its first missile program.
The Philippine Army was among the strongest with most modern equipment in Asia during the Marcos administration.
Another unverified report suggests that Marcos had an underground submarine program together with his missile program but due to chaotic government in his later years, the program was scrapped before major development was done.
Some military and defense experts contemplated that should the Philippine Government after Marcos supported his unfinished military-related projects; the country shouldn’t be suffering from bullying today.
Jethro Paterno/ Assisted Press Manila
Source: Wikipedia, Timawa.net, Globalfirepower.com