THE Philippines is “greatly concerned” about the recent testing of a hydrogen bomb by North Korea but is nonetheless ready to face any threat that may result from it, defense and military officials 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,” Arsenio Andolong, spokesman for the Department of National Defense (DND), said in a statement.
Andolong also said that Manila was “greatly concerned” over Pyongyang’s recent testing of a hydrogen bomb or thermonuclear devices over the weekend.
Citing experts, Andolong said if the North Korean government would attempt to launch the hydrogen bomb, it would not directly affect the Philippines at allBut despite this, Andolong said that the Office of Civil Defense was on alert following the DND’s standard operating procedures in times of disasters in the country.
“[T]he hydrogen bomb test may not directly affect the country, however, the DND will continue to monitor the situation,” Andolong said.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, public affairs chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), echoed the DND statement.
“That being the case, we are preparing our contingencies preparing for this, although, this is an NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) matter,” Arevalo told a news briefing.
The military will also prepare itself for any possibility of repatriation amid the looming threat from North Korea’s hydrogen bomb, but Arevalo stressed that “this was a contingent event.”
“All that we can do is just to prepare for this contingency, we haven’t implemented yet [the contingency]until such time has come, but what is important is that we have agencies of government preparing for this matter,” he said.
“As we have been saying in the past, while in the Philippines and the Armed Forces of the Philippines is joining the other armed forces from other nations of the world…in wishing that North Korea will desist from what they are professing to do,” he added.
On Sunday, North Korea said that its H-bomb test was a “perfect success.” It is by far more powerful than the other atomic weapons believed to have been tested by the North so far. DEMPSEY REYES