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, government officials said on Monday.
“We will have an information campaign so that the public would know what to do. The is part prevention, part remedial. We will make sure our assets and contingency plans are in place,” Assistant Secretary Kristoffer Purisima of the Office of Civil Defense told reporters in a news briefing.
“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,” Purisima said.
Purisima also ensured that evacuation shelters would be in place, and that the local government units would be ready to respond to the needs of their constituents in case of the nuclear bomb test.
“We are preparing and we would be ready when that time comes,” Purisima added.
Meanwhile, Arsenio Andolong, spokesman for the Department of National Defense (DND), said: “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.”
Andolong also said that Manila was “greatly concerned”.
Echoing Purisima, Andolong said if the North Korean government would attempt to launch the hydrogen bomb, it would not directly affect the Philippines at all.
“[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), said that the military was “preparing for contingencies, 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 so far, according to North Korea. DEMPSEY REYES