Ties with Navy to remain even if Marines become independent arm

MANILA Despite proposals to make the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) an independent military branch, its ties with its mother unit Philippine Navy (PN) will remain.

"The PMC is always tied up with the PN, although it maybe it might become a separate branch of service but we will see to it that the umbilical cord is always there," PMC commandant Major Gen. Alvin ParreAo said in an interview with PTV-4 Monday.

Earlier, House 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.

"We are amphibious in nature, we will be coming from the sea. We know that the sea is not an obstacle, but is a maneuver space for us so it's a different perception on our part when we are on the sea and we will develop some more in terms of doctrine, culture and many other things that pertains to the PMC," ParreAo added.

The PMC head also expressed his gratitude to supporters of proposals to transform the Marines into an separate and independent service.

"Marami kaming nababasa sa mga Facebook na they are really supporting us at nakakataba ng puso yun (We saw on Facebook that many are really supporting us and it's really heartwarming). Pero gaya nga ng sinabi namin (But as we always say), the Commander-in-Chief always has the say and we will always follow the chain of command," he added.

ParreAo earlier said that the PMC will remain a compact and hard-hitting force even if proposals for it to be named as the military's fourth independent armed service push through.

"We do not intend to be a big unit like the Army, and we don't intend to compete for resources from any other branch of service," he added.

The PMC is currently composed of around 8,000 officers and enlisted personnel spread around three maneuver brigades besides combat support and headquarters units.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has earlier dismissed outright proposals to separate the PMC from the PN.

"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 pointed out.

Number 2, the defense chief said the PMC is basically a ground force and making them an independent service will mean that there will two ground forces, including the Army, in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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

And Number 4, the PMC was envisioned as a light, hard, striking force to pursue pirates, smugglers upon its creation in 1950 by a General Headquarters orders.

"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," Lorenzana stressed.

Source: Philippine News Agency