Practice Relating to Rule 4. Definition of Armed Forces
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) notes in its glossary: “Armed Forces under the Law of War
– The armed forces of a State which is a party to the conflict consist of all organized units and personnel which are under the command responsible for the behavior of its subordinates.”
The Philippines’ Executive Order No. 292 (1987) states:
The AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] shall consist of the General Headquarters; the Major Services namely: the Philippine Army, the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Navy and, until otherwise provided by law, the Philippine Constabulary; and other existing units, services and commands of the AFP. The Secretary of National Defense may, in accordance with the policies or directives of the President, create additional units, services and commands, or reorganize the AFP in response to any situation or in pursuance of operational or contingency plans. No Major Service may be unfilled, inactivated or merged with another Major Service, without the approval of the Congress.
Whenever dictated by military necessity, and upon the recommendation of the Secretary of National Defense and approved by the President, the Citizen Armed Force may be called or mobilized to complement the operations of the regular force of the AFP or to support the regular force formations or units. For this purpose, Active Auxiliary Units which shall be part of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units, may be utilized, to be constituted out of volunteers to be screened in consultations with the local executives and civic business leaders. The status of Active Auxiliary Units shall be of a degree of activation of military reservists short of full active duty status. They shall not be vested with law-enforcement or police functions.
All members of the Citizen Armed Force on training or service shall be subject to military law and the Articles of War.
The Decree on the Constitution of the Integrated National Police (1975) of the Philippines provides that the Philippine Constabulary, responsible as the nucleus of the Integrated National Police for police, jail and fire services, “shall remain and continue to be a major service of the Armed Forces”. Within this framework, the Integrated National Police “shall function directly under the Department of National Defense”.
The Philippines’ Republic Act No. 6975 (1990) provides:
Sec. 2. Declarations of Policy. – It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to promote peace and order, ensure public safety and further strengthen local government capability aimed towards the effective delivery of the basic services to the citizenry through the establishment of a highly efficient and competent police force that is national in scope and civilian in character …
The police force shall be organized, trained and equipped primarily for the performance of police functions. Its national scope and civilian character shall be paramount. No element of the police force shall be military nor shall any position thereof be occupied by active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Sec. 12. Relationship of the Department with the Department of National Defense. – During a period of twenty-four (24) months from the effectivity of this Act, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shall continue its present role of preserving the internal and external security of the State: Provided, That said period may be extended by the President, if he finds it justifiable, for another period not exceeding twenty-four (24) months, after which the Department shall automatically take over from the AFP the primary role of preserving internal security, leaving to the AFP its primary role of preserving external security. However, even after the Department has assumed primary responsibility on matters affecting internal security, including the suppression of insurgency, and there are serious threats to national security and public order, such as where insurgents have gained considerable foothold in the community thereby necessitating the employment of bigger tactical forces and the utilization of higher caliber armaments and better armoured vehicles, the President may, upon recommendation of the peace and order council, call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines to assume the primary role and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to play the supportive role in the area concerned.
In times of national emergency, all elements of the PNP, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology shall, upon direction of the President, assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines in meeting the national emergency.
The Philippines’ Republic Act No. 8551 (1998) provides:
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy and Principles. – It is hereby declared the policy of the State to establish a highly efficient and competent police force which is national in scope and civilian in character administered and controlled by a national police commission.
Sec. 3. Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6975 is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 12. Relationship of the Department with the Department of National Defense. – The Department of the Interior and Local Government shall be relieved of the primary responsibility on matters involving the suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security. The Philippine National Police shall, through information gathering and performance of its ordinary police functions, support the Armed Forces of the Philippines on matters involving suppression of insurgency, except in cases where the President shall call on the PNP to support the AFP in combat operations.
In times of national emergency, the PNP, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology shall, upon the direction of the President, assist the armed forces in meeting the national emergency.
The Philippines’ Administrative Order No. 18 (2001) states:
, in view of Section 6 of Executive Order No. 220 and pursuant to a Memorandum of Undertaking executed by and between representatives of the Government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army on August 11, 1999, there is a need for the immediate integration of qualified members of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army into the Armed Forces of the Philippines.