• No travel ban yet to South Korea –Palace

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    THE Philippine government is not yet inclined to issue a travel ban for Filipinos going to South Korea amid the tension in the Korean peninsula, Malacañang said Saturday.

    In a radio interview, Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Department of Foreign Affairs is “closely monitoring these developments even as we continue to call for restraint on both sides.”

    Seoul said Thursday’s artillery exchange was triggered by North Korea firing several shells in the rough direction of one of its border propaganda units.

    According to the Philippine embassy in South Korea, there are 52,379 Filipinos living and working in South Korea.

    Valte said the Philippine Embassy in South Korea has protocols in place in case Filipinos need to be evacuated.

    “We had plans in place. I think this was sometime back in 2011 pa, early on in President [Benigno] Aquino’s term, when there was also a similar exchange of fires between the two. And na-activate naman po natin agad iyong ating evacuation protocols for our OFWs,” she said, adding the plans have been refined since then.

    “So, it is just a matter of activating the protocol,” Valte added.

    The Palace official also noted that the embassy is in close coordination with the Filipino community in South Korea.

    “So our first advice to them would be to follow the information that is disseminated to you by the embassy and to strictly adhere to these reminders because these reminders are also for our safety,” Valte said.

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