SANTA ANA, Cagayan: For the first time, a battalion of the Philippine Marine Corps was deployed to the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) on Friday to boost internal security operations against communist rebels and help secure the country’s territories.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, Nolcom commander, led military and local officials in welcoming Marine Battalion Landing Team 8 (MBLT-8) here. Also present were Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba; and Brig. Gen. Perfecto Rimando, commander of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division (ID).
Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, Nolcom spokesman, said that the Marines would also be securing the Philippine Rise (Benham).
The deployment of the MBLT-8 comes after the Philippine government protested China’s unilateral decision to rename several undersea features of the Philippine Rise.
It also came less than a month after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippine Navy to chase out foreign vessels within the 13-million hectare underwater plateau.
Nato said the battalion of Marines would be under the supervision of Joint Task Force Tala.
Nato added that the Marines would also have operations in seven towns of Cagayan namely Gonzaga, Buguey, Camalanlugan, Sta. Teresita, Lal-lo and Aparri.