Lorenzana expresses opposition to remodel Marines into independent service of AFP
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed opposition on the move to remodel the Philippine Marines into an independent branch of service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“We oppose the Philippine Marines becoming a separate service for the following reasons number one, marines are expeditionary forces. In other countries like the United States (US) where we patterned ours, the US Marines are for overseas deployment,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
“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 added.
Lorenzana explained the function of Philippine Marines as a ground force is also the same as the Philippine Army.
“The Philippine Marines is basically a ground force. And as such they are now deployed as infantry force in Mindanao. Making them a separate service doing the same functions as the Army will mean there will be two ground forces in the country,” he said.
“The Philippine Marines claims that they have particular skills like ship-to-shore operations. The Army could easily learn these skills,” he added.
Lorenzana said the Philippine Marines was just “envisioned as an adjunct of the Philippine Navy and it was envisioned as a small force only.”
“When the Philippine Marines was created in 1950 by a general headquarters order, it was designed as a light, hard striking force to pursue, pirates, smugglers. It was originally part of the Phil Naval Patrol the forerunner of the Phil Fleet,” he said.
Under the Senate Bill 1731 proposed by Senator Sonny Angara “the Philippine Marine Corp. shall become the fourth service branch of the country's armed forces that is equal and mutually independent as the three existing branches of the AFP--the Philippine Army, the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy.”
Angara noted that “under the present set-up, the PMC is (just) a naval infantry force under the command of the Philippine Navy.”
"Despite the lack of charter, the Marine Corps has provided seamless transition of military power between sea and land domains. After their heroism in Marawi and past battles, it's high time that we reward and recognize their achievements through its institutionalization," said Angara.
Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin, AFP spokesman, said “the proposals for any law affecting the AFP and DND ( Department of National Defense) lies under the purview of DND.”
“Currently, the DND is reviewing the National Defense Act that will amend/replace the old National Defense Act of 1935. However, the creation of another branch of service for the Philippine Marines is not included,” he said.
“Thus, the issue can be tackled at the DND level both on public affairs and on legislative aspect. However, DND might need inputs from AFP/Philippine Navy/Philippine Marines hierarchy on the merits of such proposal,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS