PH ready to evacuate Pinoys in Korea
MANILA, Philippines - Even as Malacañang reiterates its call for a diplomatic solution to the Korean conflict, the Department of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is already preparing to bring home Filipinos in South Korea in case tension escalates.
DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said they have raised Alert Level 1 for Filipinos there.
"We have identified exit points in South Korea. Those who cannot go to the airports in Seoul and Incheon should go to Busan. They will be relocated for eventual repatriation either by plane or ship," Hernandez said.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government was able to review DFA's contingency plan.
“We had the opportunity to give the contingency plan a second look so that the preparations now are benefiting from that look,” Valte said.
“I understand from the Department of Foreign Affairs that they’ve already contacted the Filipino community leaders in South Korea and that everybody is on a heightened—is on Alert Level 1, I think, for heightened awareness—and the preparations are already in place,” she said.
Valte said the DFA has improved its system because of the lessons from experiences in Libya, Syria, and Lebanon.
“We were able to do it (evacuation) in several other countries. Hopefully, we will also be able to do it but we hope that it will not be necessary. And we are one with everybody in hoping that the tensions decrease in that particular area,” Valte said in a press briefing on Monday, April 1.
“We are focused on making sure that the preparations that we’ve put in place will seek to secure our nationals who are there,” Valte said.
President Benigno Aquino III in November 2010 joined other nations in calling for sobriety and an end to the renewed hostilities between the two Koreas. Pyongyang fired into a South Korean territory, striking an island and burning down 19 homes.
North Korea said on Saturday, March 30, it was entering a "state of war" with South Korea and threatened to close a border industrial zone, the last remaining example of inter-Korean cooperation giving the impoverished North access to US$2 billion in trade a year.
The Philippines condemned the artillery attack and commended South Korea for having demonstrated extraordinary restraint. Manila also called for an end to provocative actions that would raise tensions and adversely affect peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and in the Asia Pacific region.
It strongly urged Pyongyang to abide by its obligations under international law and the United Nations Charter, and to adhere to the Armistice Agreement of 1953, the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement of 1991, and the Declaration on the Advancement of South-North Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity of Oct. 4, 2007.
The Philippine government also condemned North Korea’s nuclear tests, saying such actions were clearly against the expectations of the international community.
It noted that the nuclear tests by the North Korea violated United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions 1695 (2006), 1718 (2006), and 1874 (2009). These UN resolutions had demanded North Korea not to conduct any further nuclear tests. - Rappler.com