Camp Servillano Aquino
Since 1948, the designation as 5th Infantry (STAR) Division is its seventh at the present. It was initially designated as the First Military Area (FMA) on 05 May 1948. It was then activated on 06 May 1948 and absorbed the 1st and 2nd Military Districts and the 2nd Military Supply Point with territorial jurisdiction over 12 provinces and two (2) cities. These were Batanes, Abra, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, La Union, Mt. Province, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan and Tarlac, and Baguio and Dagupan Cities. The unit was temporarily stationed at Camp ORD (now Camp Servillano Aquino), San Miguel, Tarlac.
Due to the upsurge of dissidence and the deterioration of peace and order situation in 1950, the territorial jurisdiction of the military area was redefined and expanded to include Zambales, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga and a portion of Quezon Province which includes the north of Umiray River. In pursuant to Section IV, GO NR 151 HQS, AFP, all units of the Philippine Ground Force and the Philippine Constabulary (PC) within the redefined geographical limits were placed under its direct and command.
In this line, pursuant to Executive Order NR 389 dated 23 December 1950 and the provision of GO NR 355, GHQ, AFP Series 1950, the reorganization of the AFP were put into the effect. The military area was again placed under the direct command of the Chief of Staff, AFP. It resumed full control overall PC units within its territorial limits in Northern and Central Luzon. With the restoration of peace and order in its area of responsibility, the 1st Military area was reorganized pursuant to Section IV, GO NR 652, GHQ, AFP dated 22 June 1957. Its anti-dissidents mission was turned over to the PC.
However, on 1 July 1959, FMA was merged with the 3rd Infantry Division by virtue of plan “compact” and was responsible for the building-up of the Citizens Army through the training for inactive reserve officers and enlisted reservists and the ROTC and CMT Instructors.
In addition, the Military Area/Infantry Division was further re-designated the 1st Military Area/1st BDE, PA to conform with its missions for fiscal year 1963-1964 due to the implementation of the HQS PA Letter Directive that was dated on 6 August 1963.
On 1 September 1966 on the other hand, it was again reorganized with a troop ceiling of 97 officers and 734 EP pursuant to Letter Directive, HPA dated September 1966. This was followed on 10 October 1966 wherein the Infantry was further redesignated to IMA Pursuant to GO NR 116, GHQ, AFP dated on October 24, 1966.
On 1 February 1970 the 1st Military Area (IMA) was deactivated to give rise to the creation of the 1st Infantry BDE with Camp Aquino as the home station. The reorganization was in conformity with the PA Plan according to HQS PA Directive dated on same day 1 February 1970. The 1st BDE became a major unit of the 1st Infantry (TABAK), Division, PA.
With the deactivation of the ACAF, a unit engaged in civic action works in Central Luzon, the unit continue its mission to undertake civic action works and other environmental improvements in the rural areas through its Engineering Combat BN on 21 January 1972.
Upon its activation on 16 October 1972. The 5th Infantry Brigade (Separate). Philippine Army, absorbed the personnel, equipment and records of the deactivated 1st Infantry Brigade and had jurisdiction over twelve provinces in Central and Northern Luzon, On IB June 197H it regained control over Abra, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan but Bulacan was retained by the 1st Infantry Division.
On 1 November 1972 the 17th Infantry Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. 2nd Infantry Division was attached to the 5th Infantry Brigade. The battalion was eventually absorbed by the 5th Infantry Brigade on 1 April 1974. There were other attachment, detachment, deactivation and activation of units that occurred to meet the needs of the prevailing situations in the years that followed.
In Pursuant to GO NR 153, GHQ, AFP the 5th Infantry BDE (SEP), PA came into being as a major unit of the PA on 16 October 1972 with BGEN Miguel M. Villamor as its CG. However, on 29 March 1976 BGen Benjamin G. Santos (then Colonel) took the command of the BDE.
One of the most important in its history was on 15 May 1981, the 5th Infantry BDE (SEP) PA was elevated as the 5th Infantry Division pursuant to GO NR 365, GHQ, AFP dated on 11 May 1981. Furthermore, in the AFP TOE NR A7-2 dated on 24 January 1974, the 5th Infantry BDE was able to absorb and readjust accordingly all the subordinate units under its command.
On the 15th of May 1981, it was elevated and reorganized and was named the 5th Infantry (Star) Division of the Philippine Army.
On 07 November 1994, the headquarters was then relocated to its present location, here at Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz. The camp is named after the valiant commander who once served Northern Luzon forces during the 1970s. Although, the order that officially renames this camp as Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz has yet to be issued.
Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz
Evolution of the Command
- IMA was activated on 6 May 1948 pursuant to Section 1, General Order No I Hqs, National Defense Force dtd 5 May 48 Camp Order as the station.
- ON 1 July 1959. The 3ID was merged with the IMA by virtue of OPLAN ‘COMPACT” The merging brought about the common General Staff for both, although the 3ID remained at Camp Order and IMA in Camp Olivas.
- IMA/3ID was re-designated IMA/1Bde pursuant to GO Nr C.HQ, AFP dtd 16 Oct 63 effective 16 Aug 63.
- Re-designated as IMA effective 10 Oct 66 pursuant to GO Nr 116, GHQ. AFP dtd 24 Oct 66.
- IMA was deactivated giving rise to the creation of the BDE as tactical component of the 1ID with Camp Aquino as the home station.
- On 16 October 1972. The 5ID (Separate). PA came into being as a major unit of the PA pursuant to Gen Order Nr 153. CiHQ. AFP of even date.
- On 15 May 1981. The 5ID (Separate) as a nucleus was elevated the 5ID pur to General Order 365. GHQ, AFP dtd 11 May 81.
Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz
The division ensign is derived from the original emblem of the infantry division (reserve) PA.
- The equilateral triangle sitting on its base denotes stability under pressure.
- The three equal sides depict equality among men.
- The Red color connotes bravery and courage of the men who sacrificed their lives under its emblem.
- The five pointed star depicts the objectives of the division.
- The color denotes purity and sincerity in words and deeds.
“Excellence should not be our standard; it should be our way of life.”
To neutralize an armed force, secure assigned area of operation, including its population and engage in activities that will contribute to the attainment of national goals and objectives.
The 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Commonwealth Army during World War II
During World War II under the Japanese Occupation, the military establishment and part of the military unit organization of the 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Commonwealth Army was active from 1942 to 1946 at the military general headquarters and military camp bases stationed and located in northern and southern Luzon and the Bicol Peninsula. The local troops of the PCA 5th Infantry Division controlled the local military operations in the city of Manila, northern and southern Luzon and the Bicol Peninsula from the local PCA military GHQ bases in Northern and Southern Luzon and Bicol Peninsula and from the start of the military engagements of the Anti-Japanese Imperial military operations in Manila, Northern and Southern Luzon and Bicol Peninsula, in the island provinces of Catanduanes, Masbate and Marinduque from 1942 to 1945 and assisted the local guerrilla groups and U.S. military forces against the Imperial Japanese armed forces.
The Battle for the Liberation of Manila began in 1945 between the Allied and Japanese forces in Manila, local troops and officers under the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army recaptured and liberated in Manila on February 1945 and helped local guerrilla groups and the American troops under the U.S. Army units against the Imperial Japanese forces led by Naval Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi. Started the Fall of Intramuros on February 23, 1945, local troops under the PCA 5th Infantry Division was re-invaded in Intramuros and aided the local guerrilla resistance and American troops to fought around side by side against the Imperial Japanese soldiers and ended on February 26 was captured by the combined Filipino and U.S. ground troops after the fighting. On March 3 after the Battle for the Liberation of Manila, the local soldiers under the PCA 5th Infantry Division and meet the American troops was taken and captured in Manila after the main battle. The lifted by the combined Filipino and American troops and they more dead bodies of over 600,000 Filipino non-combatant civilians was killed by the Japanese hands during the Manila Massacre on February 1945.
During the Liberation of Northern Luzon from January to August 1945, the local troops and officers under the Philippine Commonwealth Army 5th Infantry Division was sending the local military operations and recaptured and they liberated the province of Nueva Vizcaya and aiding the troopers of the 14th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP-NL, the local guerrilla groups and U.S. liberation military forces against the Imperial Japanese troops and started the Nueva Vizcaya Campaign, Battle of Dalton Pass, Battle of Balete Pass and the Battle of Kirang Pass.
The Liberation of Southern Luzon began in December 1944 to August 1945, the local troops and officers under the Philippine Commonwealth Army 5th Infantry Division was sending the local military operations and recaptured and they liberated in Southern Luzon include the seven major provinces of Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Tayabas (now. Quezon), Mindoro (now. Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro), Marinduque and Palawan and aiding the local guerrilla resistance groups and U.S. liberation military forces and fought side by side and they defeated against the Imperial Japanese armed forces.
Beginning the fall of main battles for the liberation of two island provinces of Mindoro on first battles in December 1944 and the second battle on January to August 1945 and Palawan on February to April 1945 between the Allied troops and local guerrilla resistance against the Japanese, the local soldiers and officers under the Philippine Commonwealth Army 4th and 5th Infantry Division was sending the military operations in Mindoro on 1944 to 1945 and Palawan in 1945 and helped the local Guerrillas and American military forces against the Imperial Japanese troops.
The First Battle of Mindoro began in December 1944, the combined Philippine Commonwealth, United States and Australian military ground forces including the local guerrilla groups was fought side by side around the island province of Mindoro and they defeated and attacking Imperial Japanese troops and through the victory of the Allied forces and guerrillas and taken in Mindoro after the first battle on 1944, meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial forces was taken in Mindoro again after the first battle on December 1944 and before the second battle on January to August 1945 for the eight months and one year battles between the local Filipino troops and guerrilla fighters against the Japanese in Mindoro. Start the Second Battle of Mindoro on January to August 1945, local Filipino troops and military officers under the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary units was sending the local operations in Mindoro and aided the local guerrilla resistance groups and fought the eight months and one year liberating battles and they defeat and attacking Imperial Japanese military forces through the successful victory for the Filipino troops and guerrillas after the main battle and they taken in Mindoro and surrendering the Imperial Japanese troops after the second battle on 1945.
Beginning the Allied Invasion of Palawan on February to April 1945, combined military forces of the Filipino soldiers under the Philippine Commonwealth Army units and the American soldiers under the United States Army units was landing beaches and they recaptured and liberated the island province of Palawan and helpful the local guerrilla groups fought against the Imperial Japanese troops. On February 1945, combined U.S. and Philippine Commonwealth ground troops enters the town of Puerto Princesa and defeating Japanese soldiers and they freed the Filipino and Allied POWs at the Japanese Internment Camps. Through the successful victory of the combined U.S. and Philippine Commonwealth ground troops captured Palawan after the main invasion and defeating Japanese forces on April 1945.
When the local soldiers and officers under the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and meet supporting to the American troops of the United States Army units was landing beaches and they liberated the island of Marinduque and aiding the local guerrilla fighters against the Japanese Imperial forces and start the Battle of Marinduque on 1945.
Begins the Liberation of Bicol on January to September 1945 between the joint U.S. & Philippine Commonwealth ground troops including the Bicolano guerrilla resistance against the Japanese troops in Bicol Region, the local troops and officers under the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army sending the combat operations in Bicol Region include the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and two major island province of Masbate and Catanduanes and helping the Bicolano guerrilla resistance and American liberating troops against the Japanese Imperial forces include the main battle commands of the Battle of Camarines, Invasion of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate and the Liberation of Catanduanes on 1945.
After the Post-War Era
When the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) (1); formed its military wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) in 1968, many innocent people were fooled while some were forced into joining their organization.
After the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, thousands of students came into their ranks. However, several leaders from the CPP were jailed in the middle of the 1970s, including Jose Maria Sison. The remaining leaders of the NPA continued guerilla warfare and began to openly commit human rights violations, extortion, kidnappings and urban insurrection. This led to the downfall of the movement.
The CPP however, did not stop from recruiting members and continued to influence unwary citizens while they take advantage of the AFP’s preoccupation with the Moro insurgents in the Mindanao islands.
In 1983 they were estimated to have 6,000 regulars but by 1986 this had grown to 22,500 with 20% of villages under their control.
On 11 May 1981, the 5th Infantry Brigade (Separate) was elevated and became known as the 5th Infantry Division pursuant to General Orders Number 365, GHQ, AFP to address the growing threat of the local communist movement.
The 5th Infantry Division became distinguished as it spearheaded several campaigns against the local communist movement starting from the renowned Marag Valley in Cagayan, which was their sanctuary where the Headquarters of the Far North Luzon Regional Party Committee of the Northern Luzon Commission was discovered. It was also the training base of communist terrorists coming from other NPA units. Marag Valley is a vast forest land extending from the foot of Mt. Siamsanderie in Luna, Apayao to the Malababie Valley in Pamplona, Cagayan. Most of the land area is thickly forested which gives an impression of “virginity” and settlements are found along the mighty Marag River. From 1990-1993, massive operations were launched to restore peace and order situation in the area and continued operations were pursued in the areas of Paco-Zinundungan complex in the same province to Mabiga-Poguin complex in Isabela.
The campaign called for the proper orchestration and synchronization of efforts of the Army with various sector organizations and the local government.
In effect, the masses started to withdraw their support from the deceitful and treacherous local communist movement while several members gave up and/or surrendered to the government renouncing the bloody communist ideology. Support in urban areas fell and by 1991, the insurgents had 18,000 members and falling. The Army with the full support of various sector organizations and the local government units pressed on with the momentum to put an end with the insurgency problem.
In desperation, the communist insurgents became suspicious of its members and began a massive internal purge (2) of the movement that killed thousands of partisans and members on accusations of being deep penetration agents and informers of the AFP and the Philippine intelligence community. They also started to target US servicemen with their assassination teams called “Sparrow Units” but these activities only lost them yet more support.
These solid gains serve today as the foundation of a very manageable security environment and an irreversible socio-economic up-trend in favor of the populace in Northern Luzon.
On 07 Nov 1994, the home of the 5th Infantry Division was transferred to Camp Upi in Gamu, Isabela and is now called Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz. The Headquarters directs and employs three infantry brigades with its operationally controlled infantry battalions strategically positioned in the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Cagayan, Isabela, Ifugao, Mt province, Quirino and parts of Benguet.
In an effort to contribute greatly in the prevailing peace and order situation in the country, the Division sent combat units to Mindanao, particularly in Basilan and Jolo-Sulu area to bring an end to the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group. After the 77th Infantry Battalion made a remarkable stint in the area from 1999-2001, it was replaced with the full-complement of the 53rd Division Reconnaissance Company last November 2006 to June 2007 and has significantly contributed in the hunt to destroy the notorious terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.
The stable security environment in the areas of Northern Luzon has been laboriously achieved through the years by the diligence and selfless sacrifice of each officers and men of the 5th Infantry Division, now under the dynamic leadership of MGEN Perfecto M Rimando Jr. AFP.