From the Business Mirror (Mar 12): Angara salutes Marines with bill strengthening elite military unit
“The Philippine Marine Corps [Marines] might be few, but they remain proud and always faithful to their sworn honored duty to the country.”
Sen. Juan Edgardo M. Angara made this observation in the explanatory note of a bill he filed last Tuesday seeking to enhance the effectiveness of the Marine Corps as a formidable military unit against threats to the national security.
The measure, labeled “An Act establishing the Philippine Marine Corps, defining its power and functions, appropriating funds therefore, and for other purposes,” was hailed by his colleagues as a move in the right direction.
“Philippine history is replete with significant campaigns executed by the Philippine Marine Corps. During the 1960s the Marines spearheaded the conduct of strategic maneuvers against the Hukbalahap. In the following decade, the Marines were in most parts of Luzon neutralizing terrorists,” Angara noted.
“While in the 1980s the group skillfully maintained order despite the county’s political turmoil. The Marines also curtailed the lawlessness of extremist groups in Mindanao from 1990s to 2000s,” the lawmaker added.
“At present, the Philippine Marines Corps is not only challenged by growing criminality, but is also tested by worsening natural disasters that harm the people in the same manner.”
In filing Senate Bill (SB) 1731, Angara noted that while the Constitution mandates that there should be an Army, an Air Force and a Navy in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Marine Corps “remains an integral part of the nation’s psyche—a force in readiness.”
Angara also stressed that despite the lack of a charter, the Marine Corps has provided “seamless transition of power between sea and land domains.”
SB 1731, according to Angara, aims to provide an enabling law that would institutionalize the Marine Corps as a branch of service “distinct, autonomous, yet complementary to the Army, the Air Force and the Navy under the AFP,” in the process generating an initiative to guarantee peace, safety and order in the entire country.
Being archipelagic in nature, Angara said, there is a need for the country to have a comprehensive, but easily deployable amphibious force to conduct both seaborne and on-shore tactical operations to protect the national territories and the people.
Under the proposed law, the Marine Corps is seen as a highly competent military unit in responding to “extraordinary exigencies, and developing multinational cooperation and engagements to preserve peace and order in the country.”
“It is clear that the Marines will be empowered to further perform their duty with the proper legislation to provide such mandate.”