Lorenzana frowns on proposal to make Marines a separate branch
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has opposed the proposal to form the Marines into a new branch of service in the military.
“The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is basically a ground force and as such, they are now deployed as an infantry force in Mindanao. Making them as a separate service doing the same functions as the Army will mean there will be two ground forces in the country,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
The Philippine Army is currently the main ground force of the AFP at 85,000-strong. The Defense chief also said that the Army could easily learn the ship-to-shore operations skills that the PMC claims to have.
He also explained that marines are “expeditionary forces.”
“In other countries like the US, their Marines, upon which we patterned ours, are utilized for overseas deployment. That is also true with the Royal Marines of the 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,” he said.
Lorenzana also said that the PMC is intended as a “small force” only when it was created in 1950 by a General Headquarters order in 1950.
“[It] was 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.” he said.
The PMC Act (House Bill No. 7304) proposes to establish the PMC, currently under the Navy’s command, as an independent branch of service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The PMC would be “amphibious in character” and would be composed of ground combat, combat support, combat service support, aviation component and other necessary units.
The PMC’s current strength is estimated at around 9,300.
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