MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Loren Legarda, the chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations, has called for active preparation by the government to evacuate 40,000 Filipinos in South Korea, saying the declaration of a “state of war” by North Korea directly puts them in harm’s way.
“Our country needs to prepare for this. We need to secure the safety of Filipinos in South Korea,” Legarda said as she welcomes the early activation by the Department of Foreign Affairs of contingency plans for Filipinos in South Korea.
“I hope that the appropriate means to deliver them to safety should the situation arise are available. We cannot wait for the situation to worsen before the details of our contingency plan are firmed up—from activation of emergency area coordinators, conducting resource inventory, designating holding areas, and identification of safe evacuation routes,” she added.
Legarda said the declaration of a state of war by North Korea against its southern neighbor should be a cause for concern in the region, whose stability is also threatened by rival territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea and East China Sea between China and its neighbors.
“The uncertainties and dangers exist. All these could lead to regional instability and erode the progress realized by countries in the region, including the Philippines. It is hoped that restraint and greater sense of responsibility to regional and world peace will reign over rising tensions in the region,” Legarda said.