THE Consulate General of the Philippines in Agana has placed Guam and the Northern Mariana islands on Alert level 1, meaning Filipinos there should be vigilant because the situation is out of the ordinary.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) approved the recommendation of the Consul General in Agana to declare the alert level in order to remind Filipinos living and working in the area to be aware of unfolding events.
In an advisory dated August 13, 2017, Consul General Marciano de Borja urged Filipinos to pay special attention to advisories being issued by Homeland Security and civil defense officials.
“All Filipinos are reminded to be ready to respond to any critical incident by having their passports and other documents readily on hand and to prepare a grab bag with essential supplies, including food and water,” de Borja said.
The consul general however made it clear that placing Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands on Alert Level 1 is not intended to cause alarm or panic, but to encourage Filipinos to be vigilant and prepared should any critical incident arise.
Under Alert level 1, Filipinos in Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Rota are urged to monitor reports from reliable media outlets and official advisories from the Government of Guam and Guam Homeland Security-Office of Civil Defense.
Filipinos were also advised to stay in touch with their families and friends.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has assured the public that contingency measures are in place in case North Korea fires missiles towards Guam.
De Borja said despite the heated exchange of rhetorics between Pyongyang and the United States, life in Guam remains normal, with foreign tourists flocking to beaches and shopping districts in Guam.
Cayetano said the Philippines, as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), is ready to help find a peaceful resolution to the rising conflict in the Korean Peninsula.
The country, he said, can push a diplomatic approach and try to convince all parties concerned to keep the channels of dialogue open.
“Both sides are talking about national security but there will be no national security if there’s a nuclear war,” Cayetano said.
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have increased because of the threat of North Korea to fire a missile near Guam.
President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang the US would respond with “fire and fury.”
Cayetano said the threat is real.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that the Philippines can only hope that the crisis will not lead to a nuclear war.
“We don’t have any defense. We do not have patriot anti-missile defense that Americans, South Koreans and Japanese have,” he told reporters.
Cayetano on the other hand advised Filipinos in Guam, Korea and Japan to stay calm and go on with their daily lives.
He said embassy officials in the three countries were ordered to regularly provide updates, though social media, to Filipinos on unfolding events and what preparations should be undertaken.