• House Speaker joins Marines

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    Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte has joined the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) on Thursday as a reservist with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

    The House leader was a reservist of the Philippine Navy but opted to join the Marines and is now a member of the newly-created Philippine Marine Corps’ Board of Advisers (BoA).

    According to 1st Lt. Maria Rowena Dalmacio, acting public affairs chief of the Marines, the pinning of Alvarez’s ranks took place on Thursday at the headquarters of the Philippine Marine Corps in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

    Alvarez became a reservist of the Philippine Navy in November 1999, Dalmacio said.

    The ceremony was followed by the induction of the BoA members.

    During his speech, Alvarez lauded the Philippine Marines, saying it has been providing “important services” within the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    “In fairness to the Marines, because their missions are somehow sensitive. When it comes to challenging missions, the government has been sending the Philippine Marines, just like in Marawi, for instance, the Philippine Marines are the ones being sent,” he said.

    Fighting between government forces and Maute Group terrorists, who attacked Marawi City, capital of Lanao del Sur, on May 23 goes on.

    In a chance interview with reporters after the event, Alvarez suggested that the Marine Corps should be located in Mindanao, noting that he himself is a native of the island.

    “I hope that our Armed Forces, [will also be based]there in Mindanao so their deployment will be faster. We can deploy [soldiers]to Mindanao instantly and, of course, we can also deploy to Luzon,” he said.

    Alvarez, however, added that he is treating the Marines as special forces in the AFP organization and that the Marnes are being tapped for harder missions in the countryside.

    Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara is also a member of the Philippine Marine Corps’ BoA, along with former Marines chief Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero (retired) and former 7th Marine Brigade chief Brig. Gen. Benjamin Espiritu (retired).

    The other members of the board are Clarita Carlos, executive director for the Center for Political Reform Inc. of the University of the Philippines; Vivencio Dizon, president and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority; and Angelo Valencia, managing partner of SEDLEX Professional Partnership Inc.

    DEMPSEY REYES

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