Aquino calls for end to hostilities in Korean peninsula

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 24 2010 03:24 PM | Updated as of Nov 25 2010 04:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday called for sobriety and an end to hostilities in the Korean Peninsula after North fired about 170 shells into South Korean territory on Tuesday, including 80 that struck the island and burnt down 19 homes.

Aquino also said that the Philippine government is working to ensure the safety of Filipinos living on the two Koreas.

“We are calling for an end to the provocative actions and calling for sobriety on the two Koreas. The Philippine embassy in Korea is taking precautionary measures to protect Filipino nationals there,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

According to Lacierda, there are 50,000 Filipinos living and working in South Korea, and only 9 Filipinos living in North Korea. Five of them [in North Korea] are working for the United Nations and 4 are working for an international tobacco company. “All 9 have been accounted for,” Lacierda said.

For now, the Palace said that there are no plans to evacuate Filipinos in Korea as Philippine Ambassador to Korea Luis Cruz relayed the information that all is still quiet in Korea.

Lacierda quoted Ambassador Roy Cimatu as saying that there is a contingency plan in place in case there is a need to evacuate Filipinos there.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is not issuing a travel advisory as well. Lacierda said if the situation escalates, the government will revisit this.

Earlier, President Aquino had said in a text message that he was meeting with relevant officials to come up with a position on the hostilities and has instructed officials to ensure the safety of Filipinos in Korea.

“We will meet regarding North Korea and come up with our position after gathering and evaluating the verified info. Presently working and ensuring safety of our countrymen there,” Aquino said.