Republic of the Philippines
The Republic of Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands and a population of approximately 92 million people. Occupied by Japan during the Second World War, the country was granted independence by the United States following the war.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines consist of the Army, Navy (including the Marine Corps), Air Force and the Coast Guard. The Philippine Constabulary was also a former branch of the armed forces, but was reorganized into the Philippine National Police in 1991, at which point it ceased to be a branch of the armed forces.
Camouflage Patterns of the Philippine Armed Forces
- Presumably the earliest camouflage uniforms produced in the Philippines were made using copies of South Vietnamese tiger stripe patterns. Sources suggest these were produced as early as the 1960s or 1970s and worn by by Army Special Forces, Home Defense Forces Group (HDFG), Scout Rangers, Special Forces Group of the Philippine Constabulary and the Navy Special Warfare (SWAG) units. Early uniforms were unquestionably fabricated from imported cloth printed in other Asian countries such as Thailand (which has continued to provide fabric and uniforms to the Philippines); however, some later production fabrics are definitely of local manufacture. By the late 1980s, the use of tiger stripe camouflage decreased to the point where it was only worn by certain Navy units.
- Introduced in 1977, the Philippine seven colour brushstroke pattern is loosely based on the South Vietnamese Airborne "pinks" camouflage design. This pattern was first worn by Home Defense Forces Group (HDFG) and Army Special Forces units, and later by the Army Scout Rangers. Although often categorized as having two variants (red dominant and green dominant), the reality seems to be that there were simply a wide number of color variations produced depending on the production run. Illustrated below are at least five different examples of the pattern, showing the wide array of color combinations.
- Another very early Philippine camouflage design that was produced locally is the so-called "puzzle" pattern, named because the shapes resemble pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. There are, in fact, two distinct variations of the puzzle pattern, with an undetermined number of "sub-variations" distinguished by color differences, as well as by slight (or major) shifts in the print screens during the fabric production process. All of the "puzzle" designs were worn by the Philippine Army and Constabulary from the 1970s into the 1980s. Seen below are two examples of what I have termed the Type I Puzzle pattern, which appears to be the most common version.
- Two examples of the Type II Puzzle design are seen below. Although they appear at first dissimilar, the two are in fact variations made from the same original drawings. The colors, of course, are different, but the basic shapes can be identified if a careful examination is made. No doubt there were several companies producing the fabrics for the government during that time period, some of whom must have produced batches of cloth that were sub-standard or with errors, but which were utilized for clothing anyway. All examples featured on this page come from uniforms produced in the Philippines.
- Another leaf camouflage pattern worn by units of the Philippine Armed Forces during the 1980s is based more around the US m1948 ERDL design, although with darker colors. This saw use both with the Army and Constabulary.
- A Philippine copy of the US m81 woodland camouflage pattern emerged during the mid-1980s and saw scattered use with special units of the Philippine Army and Constabulary.
- First introduced in the early-1990s, the standard camouflage pattern of the Philippine Army and Air Force has been a locally-produced copy of British DPM ever since. A number of color variations exist, printed on a variety of fabrics.
- A version of the DPM pattern camouflage is also worn by the Philippine Air Force, incorporating dark brown, dark blue & medium blue disruptive shapes on a light grey background.
- Tiger stripe pattern camouflage was revived in the early 2000s for use strictly by Army Special Forces Regiment. The uniform is officially known as the Special Forces Distinctive Uniform, or SFDU.
- Introduced in 2009, the pixelated camouflage pattern seen here was developed for members of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). As with most of the Philippine "digital" camouflage designs, the early examples are made from imported fabrics. The uniform is officially known as the SOCOM Distinctive Uniform, or SDU.
- The Army Scout Rangers introduced a pixelated camouflage pattern of their own, primarily for ceremonial use, in 2009-2010. The pattern consists of very dark grey, medium grey and white on a black background. The uniform is officially known as the Scout Ranger Distinctive Uniform, or SRDU.
- The Army Light Reaction Battalion (LRB) also has its own distinctive pixelated camouflage pattern and uniform, known as the Light Reaction Battalion Distinctive Uniform (LRBDU).
- The first camouflage pattern issued to the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) dates to the early 1980s. Variations of this basic leaf design continued to be issued until recently, when a pixelated pattern was adopted. Seen below is the earliest issue PMC pattern, colloquially called Malunggay.
- Another early PMC camouflage pattern is seen here. The design features black "twig" shapes over large blotches of dark olive green & brown on a tan background. The pattern was later re-printed with a pale green background. The original design may have originated in Thailand.
- Subsequent variations of the early Philippine Marines leaf pattern feature a different set of drawings and often have different background or base colors. These generally feature overlapping leaf shapes in black, dark brown & dark olive green on a khaki, yellowish tan, or light olive green background.
- Since the late 1990s, the Philippine Navy Combat Engineers (Construction Battalions or Seabees) have worn a vertical tiger stripe camouflage pattern seen here. The pattern continues to be worn alongside the Marine Corps Malunggay and pixelated patterns by members of this unit.
- Early versions of tiger stripe camouflage were issued to the Navy Special Warfare Group (SWAG) in the 1970s, and this eventually became their preferred operational uniform pattern. Most of the early patterns were copied from South Vietnamese originals. The present tiger stripe camouflage pattern of the Philippine Navy Special Warfare Group (SWAG) is seen below, at the right. Several variations exist, having slightly different shades of color. This has been issued since 1990.
- Since 2008, the PMC and some units of the Navy are wearing a pixelated camouflage design with the Philippine Navy and PMC logos embedded into the pattern. The pattern incorporates black, brown & dark green on a pale green background, and original supplies of cloth were imported from China.
Camouflage of the Philippine Coast Guard
- "Red" DPM (quite similar in the colours to the Omani "red DPM") used by the Philippine Coast Guard K9 unit
- Philippine Coast Guard "choc chip" 6 colour uniform
- Philippine Coast Guard digital pattern
Camouflage of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other Agencies
- A camouflage pattern based on the standard Army DPM design was introduced in the 1990s for wear by some units of the Philippine National Police (PNP). This design, the so-called "blue" or "purple DPM" incorporates black, midnight blue & dark maroon disruptive shapes on a lavender background.
- The first camouflage pattern worn by the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) was based on the US six-color desert pattern, but having a distinctively pink or mauve colorway. This pattern was worn primarily between 1995 and 1997.
- The second camouflage pattern of the Special Action Force retained the basic drawings but considerably altered the colorway to a more green-dominant scheme. six-colour pattern. Introduced in 1997, the pattern was worn until around 2000.
- The third camouflage pattern of the Special Action Force again altered the colorway. This pattern was introduced in 2001, and produced until 2006 (theoretically replaced by the digital design below); however, uniforms in this design continued to be worn by some members of the PNP until as recently as 2014.
- The fourth camouflage pattern of the PNP SAF was introduced in 2006. This was the first digital design worn by Philippine personnel, and the original fabric was printed in China. The pattern incorporates black, dark green, foliage green & brown on a grey background, although there is some variation among production runs.
- The Philippine Presidential Security Group are a unique branch of service tasked with the protection of the President and VIPs. Since the late 1990s, the unit has worn a unique urban camouflage pattern nicknamed "bricks." There are three primary colorways documented: a grey and black version, a grey, black and tan version, and another variation of the tan that has more "pinkish" hues.
- Circa 2011, the Bureau of Jail Management & Penology (BJMP) adopted its own pixelated camouflage design, seen below. Known colloquially as "Delta" pattern, like most of the other Philppine pixelated designs this one also has a miniature logo of the agency embedded into the pattern.
- The Department of the Interior and Local Government's Bureau of Fire Protection has recently (2012) issued a pixelated camouflage pattern with an orange colorway to some members of its Fire and Rescue Service. The pattern is issued only to the Special Reaction Unit (SRU).
- The Rescue Battalion of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) wear a woodland variation camouflage design with dark red, black and grey shapes on a lighter grey background.