Lorenzana opposes move to make Marine Corps independent

MANILA Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday dismissed outright proposals to separate the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) from its mother unit, the Philippine Navy (PN).

The defense chief issued this statement after House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo FariAas filed a bill seeking to institutionalize the PMC as a distinct and autonomous arm of the military.

"Number 1, Marines are expeditionary forces. In other countries like the US, where we patterned ours, the US Marines are for overseas deployment. That is also true with the Royal Marines of UK. Both units are invasion forces embedded with their Navies. The Philippines, on the other hand, will not be invading foreign shores anytime soon or ever," Lorenzana said.

Second, he pointed out that the PMC is "basically a ground force" and making them an independent service will mean that there will be two ground forces, including the Army, in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"Number 3, the PMC claims that they have particular skills, like shiptoshore operations. The Army could easily learn these skills," he added.

Lorenzana further said that the PMC was envisioned as a light, hard, striking force to pursue pirates and smugglers, upon its creation in 1950 by a General Headquarters order.

"It was originally part of the Philippine Naval Patrol, the forerunner of the Philippine Fleet. In short, the PMC was envisioned as an adjunct of the PN and it was envisioned as a small force only," he said.

The PMC is composed of about 8,000 officers and enlisted personnel spread around three maneuver brigades, apart from combat support and headquarter units.

Source: Philippine News Agency