PH embassies, consulates abroad told to update contingency plans

MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday ordered all embassies abroad and consulates general, particularly those in or near conflict areas, to update their contingency plans to ensure the safety of Filipinos especially if North Korea (NoKor) attack Guam.

"Our people all over the world are counting on us to lead them to safety in case worse comes to worst," said DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. "It is thus important to make sure that all our contingency plans are regularly reviewed and updated."

The Secretary issued the order after the Philippine Consulate General in Agana, Guam raised Alert Level I in Guam following threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to launch a nuclear missile strike against the American trust territory.

Apart from Korean Peninsula, Cayetano noted there are tensions in other parts of the world, including in the Middle East, which could affect Filipino nationals.

"We should make sure that we are always ready to respond quickly and effectively," he said.

For his part, DFA Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said evacuation plans for Filipinos in Guam were part of the contingency planning.

Guam and US (United States) authorities also have their contingency plans in case of such emergency and we have to closely coordinate with them in case evacuation becomes necessary, he said. We hope, of course, that it will not come to that.

Citing the Consulate General, Bolivar further said, "life in Guam remains normal" and US security officials had spoken on their assessment of the DPRK threat.

There are an estimated 10 million Filipinos around the world, including two million in the Middle East as well as 65,000 in South Korea and 42,835 in Guam.

Source: Philippine News Agency