THE Defense department on Wednesday opposed a proposed bill at the House of Representatives seeking to separate the Philippine Marines from its mother unit, the Philippines Navy.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that in the event the Marines were separated from the Navy, the country would have two ground forces, doing similar functions—that of the Philippine Army.
The Philippine Marines, the military’s front liner in times of war, is a battle-ready force presently deployed in various conflict areas, particularly in the volatile environment in Mindanao,
“The Philippine Marine Corps is basically a ground force and as such, they are now deployed as an infantry force in Mindanao, Making them a separate service doing the same function as the Army will mean there will be two ground forces in the country,” Lorenzana explained.
He said in other countries like the United States, their Marines, “upon which we patterned ours, are utilized for overseas deployment, similar to the Royal Marines of the United Kingdom which
are invasions forces embedded with their navies.”
“The Philippines, on the other hand, will not be invading foreign shores anytime soon or ever,” Lorenzana said.
At present, officials from the Philippine Marines welcome the proposition of both chambers of Congress to transform it into a separate branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Philippine Marines Commandant, Maj. Gen. Alvin Parreno favored the proposition of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, both reservists of the Marines, to separate the Navy’s ground force as another major service of the AFP.
In the event of its eventual separation, the Philippines Marines would have its own budget at their disposal.
Currently, the Marines has been putting-up additional battalions in various key points in the country, serving as counter force against foreign intruders.
Recently, a thousand Marines were deployed in the country’s northeastern frontier amid attempts by foreign ships to intrude into the rich fish waters in Philippine Rise.
The Philippine Marines was created in 1950 by a General Headquarters order, designed as a light, hard striking force to pursue, pirates and smugglers.
It was originally part of the Philippine Naval Patrol, which was the forerunner of the Philippine Fleet.
“In short, the Philippine Marines was created as an adjunct of the Philippjng Navy and it was envisioned as a small force only,” Lorenzana explained.