North Korea’s testing of a hydrogen bomb increases the tension not just in the Korean peninsula but in the whole of Asia, the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday.
“The proliferation of this weapon increases the tension not only in the Korean peninsula but also adversely affects the peace and security of the whole of Asia as well,” DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
He added that Manila is “greatly concerned” over Pyongyang’s recent testing of a hydrogen bomb over the weekend.
AFP public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo agreed that North Korea’s actions is a “cause of concern.”
“That being the case, we are preparing our contingencies although this is an NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) matter,” Arevalo said in a news briefing.
He added that the military will prepare for the possible repatriation of Filipinos in Korea.
“All that we can do is prepare for this contingency. What is important is that we have agencies of government preparing for this matter,” he said.
On Sunday, North Korea said it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb more powerful than the other atomic weapons it earlier tested.
AFP chief Eduardo Año gave assurances that the Philippines is prepared for any possible fallout from the H-bomb testing.
“It’s really very dangerous, but we in the AFP can only act when there is a real threat and there’s already a need for operational decisions to make,” he said in an ambush interview at the sidelines of the Northern Luzon Command leadership turn-over at Camp Servillano Aquino, Tarlac City.
“We are one with the whole world in persuading North Korea to go to the road of peace,” Año noted.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said it will launch a campaign to teach the public what to do in case a missile is launched.
“We will have an information campaign so that the public would know what to do. This is part prevention, part remedial. We will make sure our assets and contingency plans are in place,” Purisima told reporters.
“We already have contingency and response plans set, and we are just going to adjust it per scenario. We have to find out first where the missile could possibly hit our country, but we do not anticipate that we will be at the direct trajectory of any launch,” he added.
Purisima said evacuation shelters will be set up.
“We are preparing and we would be ready when that time comes. Our regional directors, regional offices, and our regional councils will make sure that all the local government units under them are preparing accordingly,” he added.