PH sets out plans for Filipino workers in South Korea
by Jayson Leguiab
Manila (30 November) -- With the conflict in the Korean peninsula, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other agencies concerned with migrant workers to ensure the safety of 60,000 Filipinos working in South Korea.
"We are closely monitoring it and I have tasked the relevant agencies to review their plans concerning the safety of our citizens there," Aquino said.
The Philippine government has laid down contingency plans for evacuation if situation would worsen.
Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Esteban Conejos said the plan involved a two-step movement. "In case of escalation, we will move our people out of harm's way from the danger zone to converge halfway in relocation sites. If the security situation deteriorates, we move them to evacuation centers, from where we will airlift them to safety," he said.
The plan is regularly updated he said. "Right now, the Philippine embassy in Seoul has raised alert level one, which means heightened security for our nationals," Conejos said.
The plan involves four alert levels. Alert level three would mean compulsory evacuation for Filipinos in the area.
The conflict began when Pyongyang warned South Korea to halt military drills with in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations and a small civilian population.
Artillery exchanges happened subsequently, with the latest recorded last Tuesday. (PIA-MMIO) [top]