The Philippine Marine Corps. is strengthening the government’s fight against communist rebels in North Luzon as well as heightening the security in Philippine Rise (Benham).
A battalion of Marines was deployed on February 16 to the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).
The organization noted this was the first time that Marines was deployed to Nolcom to bolster security operations.
Nolcom Commander Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, together with military and local officials, welcomed Marine Battalion Landing Team 8 (MBLT-8) in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba and Brig. Gen. Perfecto Rimando, commander of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division (ID) also embraced the entry of the Marines in the province.
Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, Nolcom spokesman, said the marines’ participation in guarding the country’s territories came after the protest of the Philippine government against China’s unilateral decision to rename several undersea features of the Rise.
This was also on the back of President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate to the Philippine Navy to chase out foreign vessels within the 13-million hectare underwater plateau.
The spokesman said the deployed battalion would be supervised under the Joint Task Force Tala.
In Cagayan, Nato said the MBLT-8 will have operations in seven towns including Gonzaga, Buguey, Camanlanlugan, Sta. Teresita, Lal-lo and Aparri.