• Manila calls for restraint


    The Philippines on Friday urged restraint in the Korean peninsula after a reported exchange of artillery fire between South Korea and North Korea.

    In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it is closely monitoring the “developing situation” in the Korean Peninsula.

    “The Philippines urges restraint on both sides and calls for the immediate de-escalation of tensions in order to maintain regional peace and stability,” the statement added.

    The call came after the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire on Thursday, which although did not leave any casualties, pushed already tense cross-border relations to high levels.

    According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, there are an estimated 70,000 Filipinos living in South Korea as of 2007 of which 6,000 held permanent residency, while another 14,000-15,000 were undocumented.

    The Philippine Embassy in Seoul has advised Filipino residents to remain calm and to continuously monitor developments in South Korea.

    “We would like to inform the Filipino community that we are still on Alert Level 1 or heightened alertness,” an announcement posted on the embassy website read.

    “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea has also informed the Philippine Embassy that an application for smartphones, both Android phones and IPhones, to locate the emergency shelters in South Korea has been made available to the public.

    “It is also important that each one knows the designated shelters in your own area and to coordinate with each area’s Filipino community coordinators.”

    The website provides links to downloadable maps of emergency shelter locations as well as contact information of designated coordinators of the Filipino community.


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