Just in case they haven’t heard of it, Filipino citizens in South Korea, Japan and Guam were reassured on Monday by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that there are contingency plans in place for them just in case the tension between the US and North Korea worsens.
“I’ll be speaking to the different heads of mission, whether ambassadors and consul generals, there are contingency plans in place,” Foreign Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano assured.
“Just stay calm, keep in touch with our embassy, we will ask them to give updates through social media since most people have mobile and cellular phone so they are updated,” he added.
Last Sunday the DFA assured the public that contingency measures are in place in case the People Democratic Republic of Korea makes good its threat to fire missiles toward Guam.
Cayetano was on the phone with Ambassador Raul Hernandez in Seoul and Consul General Marciano de Borja in Agana to request updates on the situation in their respective areas of jurisdiction. Both ambassadors have given their assurances that their respective contingency plans for the Filipino community are in place, in case the situation in the Korean Peninsula escalates further.
There are approximately 65,000 Filipinos in Seoul and 42,835 in Guam.
Cayetano echoed President Duterte’s calls for both the US and North Korea to exercise restraint and to take the necessary steps to avoid a further escalation of the situation.
Both US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have engaged in brinkmanship, threatening each other with nuclear annihilation in a never-ending tit-for-tat show.
Kim has threatened to send four ballistic missiles over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean just short of Guam last week, in reply to Trump’s “fire and fury” that will befall on Pyongyang.
Many in the diplomatic community have criticized Mr Trump for his “fire and fury” comments to North Korea, saying that it does regional peace no good to mimic Kim’s bombastic rhetoric.
According to Pyongyang’s public statements, the missile would reach the waters off the coast of Guam in approximately 17 minutes.
The island is home to American nuclear submarines and also the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system that could be used to thwart an attack.
Cayetano said he hopes the exchanges between the two heads of government are “just harsh rhetoric.”