MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday thumbed down a proposal to separate the Philippine Marines from the Philippine Navy.
In a statement, Lorenzana said there is no need to separate the Marines, a force designed for invasion under the Navy, as the Philippines will not be invading foreign shores "anytime soon or ever."
Lorenzana's statement comes after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas filed House Bill No. 7304, which seeks to establish the Philippine Marine Corps as a branch of service "autonomous but complementary" to the military.
"Making them a separate service doing the same functions as the Army will mean there will be two ground forces in the country," Lorenzana said.
He added that the Marines was created in 1950 as a supplement to the Navy and was envisioned as a small force only 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 Philippine Navy and it was envisioned as a small force only," said Lorenzana, a former Army general.
Lorenzana also rejected claims that the Marines can be a separate force since they have "particular skills like ship-to-shore operations," saying these could easily be acquired by the Philippine Army.