Marine Commandant backs move to form new military service branch

While it expressed support for the proposed law seeking to institutionalize its branch as an independent armed uniformed service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) will remain a “compact and hard-hitting” force, its Commandant, Major General Alvin Parreño, has assured.

Parreño made the remark Friday when pressed on whether they are planning to increase the number of their personnel once the proposal to separate them from the Navy goes into fruition.

This, after House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas filed a bill seeking to institutionalize the PMC as a distinct and autonomous arm of the military.

“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,” Parreño said.

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

While strongly supportive of calls to make the Marines an independent military arm, Parreño said there will be a transition period.

“There will be transition and we are still preparing for it. The British Royal Marines remains at 8,000, even though they are a separate service,” he added.

Instead of expanding their size, the PMC chief said they would rather fill up their battalions, which are not to full strength.