56,000 OFW in South Korea is ready to evacuate – North Korea Missile Launching

The Philippines on Monday (March 26, 2012) said it was ready with a contingency plan to protect the safety of more than 50,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in South Korea if tensions with North Korea over its plan to launch a new rocket escalated into a full-blown crisis.

If crisis will arise, this is more complicated as nuclear weapon is link to this and unlike Middle Eastern crisis which evacuation is tolerable but for nuclear issue; no place to hide and no time to move.

Locals or Korean national are aware of this without any panic that they will survive if there is a way to survive or otherwise, just accept the destiny.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is in Seoul attending a nuclear security summit with other world leaders, also said the government would direct local governments with migrant workers in South Korea to be prepared for any eventuality.

"Our embassy (in Seoul) is ready for a worst-case scenario," Binay said in a statement released by his office.

Pyongyang has said it plans to launch a satellite into space aboard a new rocket between April 12 and 16, triggering warnings from the United States and its allies that the launch was intended to test a missile capable eventually of delivering an atomic warhead.

North Korea has said the first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in international waters about 140 kilometers off the South Korean west coast. The second stage is projected to splash down some 190 km off the northeast coast of the Philippines.

"This is an unfortunate situation because there are existing United Nations resolutions and North Korea has said it will comply with the resolutions," Binay said. "We hope it does not happen and North Korea complies with the UN resolutions."

A UN Security Council resolution passed after North Korea staged missile and nuclear tests in 2009 bans a ballistic missile launch for any purpose.

April 2012 ASEAN summit

The North Korean issue will be discussed by President Benigno Aquino III and other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the April 3-4 ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in Malacañang.

The 10-nation ASEAN includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Laos and Burma (Myanmar).

"I think there will be a topic on DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)," Lacierda said, adding the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was "on top of the situation" insofar as contingency plans for OFWS were concerned.

He said there were around 56,000 Filipinos in South Korea and seven to nine Filipinos in North Korea working with UN-related agencies.

4 alert levels

Told that North Korea had already moved the rocket to its launch site and asked whether the Philippines would join the US call for China to rein in its North Korean ally, Lacierda said "the most effective means of addressing the North Korean issue has always been the six-party talks."

He was referring to the dialogue on ending North Korea's nuclear program that began in 2003 and involves the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the Philippines will press Pyongyang to abandon its rocket launch plan.

The Philippine Embassy has posted on its website a 10-page advisory on the contingency plan for Filipino workers in South Korea.

Written in Filipino, the advisory directs the workers to familiarize themselves with four alert levels.

Convergence points

Under Alert Level 1, the OFWs are required to observe heightened alertness. Alert Level 2 calls for restriction of movements, while Alert Levels 3 and 4 call for relocation and actual evacuation, respectively.

Three "convergence areas" for evacuees have been marked: Seoul, Daejeon and Busan (or Pusan), which is some 330 km southwest of Seoul. If the Gimpo and Incheon international airports are already closed, Busan will be the main convergence point.

From Busan, the embassy plans to evacuate Filipinos, using both the city's major port and Gimbae International Airport.

For OFW in Korea; it is also advice that the Subway Line Number 5 or purple line is built for safe from hazard and any possible attack so traveling or evacuating using Subway line number 5 is safer.

Relocating to Busan is also unsafe using air transport so OFW must not be panic if alert level 3 is issued. Traveling via land is more safer but traffic is expected and almost 6 hour travel time from Seoul to busan.

OFW is encourage to carry and study the map how to find safer place and how to manage self evacuation to the southern part of South korea.

Monitoring Crisis for North Korean Missile Launching

All 90 Philippine embassies and consulates worldwide have a contingency plan for Filipinos, the DFA said.

Raul Hernandez, the DFA spokesperson, said "that could include the mobilization of a network of Filipino community leaders, logistical movements of Filipinos to safer areas and possible evacuation of nationals to the Philippines."

"This plan is amended or revised as needed depending on the actual situation on the ground," Hernandez said.

However, "no crisis alert level [for Filipinos] in the two Koreas has been declared" by the DFA, he said.

'Helpless observer'

The Senate defense committee chairman, Panfilo Lacson, said in a text message that North Korea's launch plan should be a cause for concern "because it automatically threatens the peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region."

Lacson said the situation was not helped by North Korea being a "secretive" country.

He added: "Unfortunately, [the situation] is further aggravated by some tough talk from [US President Barack] Obama and warnings from the West. How China reacts to the situation will surely affect the stability in the area."

Lacson also said: "The Philippines, being a helpless observer, may be better off staying that way. Our efforts are limited to using our diplomatic channels with our neighboring countries, to speak as one voice with them."

The Senate defense committee vice chairman, Gregorio Honasan, said: "I'm sure this is more about saber rattling, threat and counterthreat. Even North Korea understands the global implications of what it plans to do. So this is not a doomsday scenario, I'm sure diplomacy would come into play."

Honasan said there was no cause for panic. "For concern and worry, yes. But let's not be paranoid … Realistically, our best bet is our regional and global alliances," he stressed.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV warned "conflict may arise" in the Asia-Pacific if countries displeased with North Korea's plan took stronger measures.

But Trillanes added: "The public isn't alarmed too much because people are more concerned about the more evident gut issues like the rising oil and power prices, fare hike, and later on, the increase in the prices of commodities." With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Cathy Yamsuan

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  1. Over reacting naman mga ito sa gobyerno natin, pa pogi ba?

    North Korea is estimated to have a few nucear weapons but the total is believed to the equivalent of the nuke dropped in nagasaki during wwII.

    Further, the nuclear bombs NoKor created are of old technology, meaning they are really too big and heavy to be mounted on a ICBM or even any NoKor aircraft.

    The 3 stage rocket they are launching is not the first, they tried 2x already and failed miserably. They didn't even make the 2nd stage successful enough. Then they will have to convert the rocket into ICBM mounted with nukes which is another big challenge.

    There is nothing to worry about this launch folks except the provocation and ambition it projects to its neighbors.

  2. I have no comment against the Philippines government.

    My Indian colleague and other nationalities who are working here in Seoul are so impressed with the move of the Philippines.

    Sabi ng nila mabuti pa ang govyerno ng pilipinas may malasakit sa mga Philippine National samantalang kami, walang pakialam ang government namin.

    Even my Russian colleagues here in Hyundai Motors they were so impressed with the Philippines because the government really put value and very vocal how to support OFW.

    yan ang nag papatibay sa amin dito sa South Korea kasi di kami pinabayaan ng Philippines Government.

    Pati nga ang Batas ng Pilipinas sa employment yan ang ginagawang pattern ngayon ng company namin kaya lahat ng benefits ng pinoy ibinibigay na rin nila sa ibang nationals.

    Dito sa Korea proud na proud ako na Pilipino kasi may dangal at may boses.

    Salamat President Aquino and VP Binay

  3. dapat lang may dangal ang mga OFW dahil kapag ang mga Ibang bansa ay pumunta dito sa Pinas ay may dangal din sila dapat pantay-pantay lang ang turi ng ibang bansa sa Pinas.... at kahit papanu handa ang pinas kumupkop sa kanila at tatakbuhan nila. "SECOND HOME"

  4. kahit ganito lng naman ang pilipinas makatao din naman kahit minsan hirap sa pagpapatupad. natulungan nga natin yung mga Israeli during holocaust at mga Vietnamese boat people during Vietnam war. Nasira lng talaga yung magandang culture natin ng pinauso na ng mga buwayang gov't officials ang corruption sa Pilipinas. Naging cancer na mahirap gamutin.

  5. Hindi lahat ng OFW sa SOuth Korea ay maganda ang kalagayan.

    I agree may changes pero back 1999 first time when I was in South Korea naku, tanungin nyo pa ang mga OFW .. discriminated ang mga pinoy sa South Korea. Kita nyo pinag papalo at sigaw-sigawan ng mga amo nila.

    Alam naman ng lahat na ang Pilipinas ang ang led para tulungan ang SKorea during the 1953 Korean war dahil naka chair pa noon sa United Nations ang respected Filipino General Carlos Romulo president noon ng UN General Assembly pero noong celebration nila sa Korean war, hindi nga ma banggit-banggit ang Pilipinas na kasama sa tumulong sa kanila.

    Parang ikinahihiya nila ang Pilipinas na isa sa pinaka mayaman at pinaka mayamang bansa sa Asya back 1940s to 1960s ay naging pulubing bansa at economic discrimination is rampant about the Philippines. I suffered the discrimination, mahirap makipag kaibigan sa ibang lahi kasi even the poor and jobless people from Nigeria ngingiti pag maka kita ng Pinoy at sasabihing "Are you from the Philippines?" woa your country is so poor. bankrupt.. masakit kasi nilalait ang mga pinoy dito..

    Ang Korean Media, kahit during sa celebration to honor the Korean War, di talaga ma banggit-banggit ang Philippines at e feature nila mga OECD member country lang na tumulong raw sa kanila.

    Pero kung iisipin; during sa Presidency ni Macapagal in 1960s yung butihing Ama ni gloria arroyo... Economically naka tulong ang Philippines sa Korea read nyo dito http://www.hikot.com/index.php?do=/philippines-aid-to-south-korea-after-the-korean-war/

    Ang Philippines pala ang pina ka unang bansa ang nag patayo ng indoor sports building sa Korea ang Jang Chung Gymnasium at parami pa raw ang ipina tayo ng Philippines Government sa South Korea.... na documentary yan dito bago lang kaya nalaman ng ibang Korean kung paano tumulong ang Pilipinas sa kanila noong after the Korean war na mahirap pa sila sa Daga....

    Mabuti nalang mula late 2010.. may changes na... kahit Flag ng Philippines e popost na nila sa Media.. sa Subway Station... etc..

    May changes na panahon sa Presidency ni Noynoy Aquino.. kahit papano.. laman ng mga balita good thing about the Philippines.. Umunlad na daw ang Pilipinas.. ang Economy is getting better na .. I am so happy.

    Dahil sa improvement ng image ng Philippines dito sa South Korea, pati nga Pinoy respected na rin nila at.. dumami ang mga Koreans na bumisita sa Pilipinas.. pa dami ng padami.... kasi good thing about the Philippines na ang ma babasa mo sa nga news nila. Pero mahirap na rin mag book ng ticket pauwi sa pinas kasi all flights are fully-booked..

  6. Sa Saudi Arabia naman, noong 2007 -2009 Kilalang kilala si Gloria Arroyo na President ng Philippines at kilala din nila ang abusayaff..sikat pa nag eh..

    Sabi nila your President in the Filipine is a woman very strong, very smart but SHE is Devil..

    Kilala si Arroyo sa mga Saudis kasi na balita doon.. pero Kilala siya bilang Devil.

  7. kilala rin ang mga arroyo dito s pinas, n kmag anak ni lolong n tga agusan, ang pnakamalaking buwaya s buong mundo, bwaaaahh hahaha......

  8. Kilala nyo sino ang nag binyag na Gloria Arroyo is a Devil? yung matandang baklang sino yun sa SSS na sinabi nya My Boss is a devil (referring to Gloria Arroyo) kalimutan ko sino yung baklang yun naging president ng SSS dati.

    Pero binayaran ni Gloria arroyo at nung mka tanggap ng datung cguro may package na mga lalaking sundalo ma i kama nya every night, tumahimik na at ayaw na raw niya mag salita.

    Na binyagan si Gloria arroyo nun dahil sa case nya sa ZTE Broadband Deal.. nabalita sa buong mundo yun, nasa Saudi din ako nun.. pati yung Helllo garci hmmmm Hello garCi hmmmm...

    Funny ka sinungaling si Gloria Arroyo, ginawa siyang funny jokes sa abroad.. dun bumaba ng bumaba ang Value ng mga Filipino (OFW)

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