IN PHOTOS: PH military celebrates 81st anniversary
IN PHOTOS: PH military celebrates 81st anniversary
This year's anniversary theme is 'conquering challenges, harnessing change'

MANILA, Philippines (Updated) – Philippine military camps nationwide simultaneously held a flag-raising ceremony Wednesday morning, December 21, to begin the celebration of the 81st anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The anniversary celebration has never been only about us, although we always see it fit to showcase our troops and our equipment as a show of our advancement as an institution. More than this, the ‘AFP Day’ is a celebration of our shared aspirations with the Filipino,” AFP chief Lieutenant General Eduardo Año said in his anniversary statement. 

“We dedicate our efforts today to the Filipino people we have sworn to serve and protect, and this we have done each year with dedication and pride, as it is a fact that only with their unyielding support that we as an institution came to where we are now,” Año added.

The celebration culminated in a ceremony led by President Rodrigo Duterte at the Camp Aguinaldo parade grounds Wednesday afternoon. Troops paraded before the commander-in-chief and equipment were displayed.


HONOR GUARDS. Students of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) served as honor guards during the 81st anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

PMA CLASS 83. Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año (4th from left), Army chief Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, and Air Force chief Lieutenant General Edgar Fallorina lead the arrival honors for President Rodrigo Duterte. Malacañang Photo

The anniversary celebration was attended by former presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Arroyo, former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile who joined the country’s former defense chiefs, and former chiefs of staff of the military among others. 

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua was conspicuously present as various Philippine officials were seen apppproaching him for a chat. US Ambassador Sung Kim was not present at the ceremony.  (READ: PH military gets $14-M Christmas grant from China)

Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos chats Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua

Outstanding soldiers were also recognized for their accomplishments in the service.

The ceremony was witnessed by living recipients of the Medal of Valor, the highest recognition a soldier can receive in the service, and the dependents of the deceased awardees. 

The anniversary celebration has the theme: “Conquering Challenges, Harnessing Change.” 

It has been a month-long celebration for the AFP. It held the Disaster Responders Challenge and Climate Change Summit on December 2, the National ROTC Summit on December 10, and the AFP @81 Photo Contest on December 20, among other activities. –

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