FORT MAGSAYSAY: THE HOME OF THE 7TH INFANTRY DIVISION,
IT’S HISTORY AND EARLIER DEVELOPMENT PLAN
The Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMRR) is located in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. It has a land of 35,467 hectares which encompasses portion of municipalities of Palayan City, Gen Tinio, Laur, Gabaldon all of Nueva Ecija and the municipality of Dingalan in Aurora province. It was proclaimed as military reservation by the late President Ramon F Magsaysay in 1955.
The camp was named in honor of President Magsaysay, the seventh President of the Philippine Republic. A story way back 1955, the camp was identified as “Camp Alibangbang” because many alibangbang trees surrounded the camp.
The reservation is characterized by a generally rolling terrain that gradually rises toward the east until it reaches the forested and towering area of Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation was set-up in December 17, 1955 pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 237 by then President Ramon Magsaysay. It is 20 kilometers from Cabanatuan City and 21 km from Palayan City. It is the biggest military reservation in the country.
It is a primarily a training area considered among the best in the Far East. Its training facilities include airborne and amphibious training, jungle survival and guerrilla warfare. Its vast area and terrain feature make it an ideal for training ground in combat exercises of army units.
In 1983, the Training Command of the Philippine Army was relocated from Fort Bonifacio to Fort Magsaysay to take charge of the reservation. This paved the way for the development of the reservation area into a training complex to serve the Army’s training requirements.
7th Infantry Division was the defunct 3rd Infantry Division Brigade (Separate), Philippines Army. It was activated on January 14, 1987 pursuant to General Order Nr 90, General Headquarters, AFP and was stationed at Camp Servillano Aquino, Tarlac, the nucleus of its personnel came from the 14th Infantry Battalion, 60th Infantry Battalion 3rd Regional Community Defense Unit Army Station Hospital, and “C” Battery, 3rd Field Artillery Battalion all organic units of the 5th Infantry Division,
The 3rd Infantry Brigade (Separate) was then upgraded to become the 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army on August 1, 1988 pursuant to General Order Nr 471, GHQ, AFP. Consequently, the service support units were upgraded to enable the new division to fully support the increased requirements of its expanded command.
Per directive of Headquarters, Philippine Army, 7ID transferred to Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija on November 22, 1988. However, on January 16, 1989 the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army completely transferred its headquarters from Camp Aquino, Tarlac to Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija until this present date.
Holding the distinction as the first 7ID Commander was Lt General Guillermo Flores who was then a Colonel at that time. The command subsequently placed under the operational control of the Regional Unified Command III and tasked to spearhead counterinsurgency operations in Central Luzon.
7ID later on absorbed 24IB, 56IB, 60IB and eventually 68IB, 70IB, 71IB, 72IB and 73IB. As the designated rapid deployment division of the Philippine Army, 7ID forces were expected to move on short notice to restore order in troubled areas. On Sept 01, 1996, 701st Brigade with the 60IB, 72IB and 73IB were deployed to the province of Davao.
The Division was then organized with three (3) tactical brigades and nine (9) infantry battalions with corresponding combat support and service support units. The 701st infantry brigade was placed OPCON with 10th Infantry Division subsequently absorbed and covered the province of Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur. 702nd and 703rd brigades remain intact in Central Luzon.
The Division is currently organized into three tactical brigade, one brigade (701st) with 3 battalions (71st, 84th and 69th) OPCON under 10th Infantry Division and remaining two (2) brigades with five (5) battalions, one (1) Civil-Military Operations Battalion, one (1) Cadre Battalion defending the provinces of Central Luzon.