Filipino marines shift from terror to sea disputes-A A +A
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
JOLO, Sulu — Philippine officials said more than 100 marines have left southern Sulu province, where they helped battle al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants for years, to a western province to help reinforce the country's claims in disputed South China Sea territories.
Officials said a significant military force of about 5,000 will remain in Sulu to deal with lingering Abu Sayyaf threats.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the shift is part of a plan for the military to gradually shift from an anti-insurgency role to territorial defense.
Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said the send-off on Wednesday for the marines at the Jolo pier was bittersweet because he has struck friendships with many of them. At the same time, he said it's an indication that terrorist threats in his province have eased. (AP)