Gov't to ask outside help to prepare for North Korea missile launch

April 4, 2012 10:10 pm 

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, April 4 — The Philippine government will coordinate with American and Japanese experts with regards to the impending missile launch by North Korea in mid-April to avoid damages and casualties.

“We will ask for everybody who has knowledge about it. So, initially, the Americans, baka the Japanese also… we’ll also talk to them,” the President told the members of the Philippine media during a coffee meeting at the Sofitel Hotel here on Tuesday evening.

The President was responding to questions whether the government needed outside help in assessing the danger posed by North Korea’s planned rocket launch to effectively prepare for it.

“Yung radars natin have a very low, small window of areas that they can survey. We will ask those that have more extensive surveillance capabilities to be able to give us more warning time in case it really poses a danger to any of our population,” he said.

As an initial response, however, the President noted that concerned government agencies are now doing assessments, particularly the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) so that the country could prepare for it.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is also preparing should the missile launch pushes through and affects the country, the President said.

But President Aquino appealed to the press not to hype the issue because it may needlessly cause panic.

“We are preparing for any eventuality. Kaya pakiusap ko naman sa inyo, huwag n’yo naman isusulat na the ‘Earth is falling tomorrow.’ Huwag naman ganoon. May mamasaktan pa rin ‘pag ganoong nagpa-panic,” he said.

“We have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Kesa naman prepare for the best, and be totally unprepared for the worst,” the President stressed.

Despite the pronouncement of North Korea that it will proceed with the launch, the President said he hopes the reclusive nation abandon its missile launch particularly if negotiations involving the US and other nations resume.

Experts say that North Korea’s multi-stage rocket may hover near the coast of Aurora province. The President said he’s concerned about the missile flying over more populous provinces such as Isabela and Nueva Ecija, which may require extensive government response should debris fall on those areas.

Japan and South Korea have said they would shoot down North Korea’s rocket if it enters their respective air spaces.

Last month, President Aquino appealed to the North Korean government to call off its planned missile launch, saying it posed serious risks to the lives of the people as well as regional stability, peace and prosperity. He said the missile launch was a needless provocation.

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), who are in their last day of the summit here will tackle the North Korea missile launch issue. (PNA) RMA/PCOO/rsm

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