Abella: Plans in place if North Korea strikes near Guam

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This story was updated to include the interview with Philippine Consul in Guam Marciano de Borja.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 9) - Amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, Malacanang on Thursday assured the public the government is prepared for possible missile attacks near Guam by North Korea.

"The embassies and consulates in general including the one in Agana, Guam have contingency plans which are regularly updated to enable them to respond to emergencies," Presidential Spokesperson Abella said at a briefing.

Some 42,800 FIlipinos live in Guam, which is home to a U.S. military base and sits approximately 2,500 km away from the Philippines.

"It's pretty automatic that if there are any threats especially for those that are in affected areas, they have contingency plans for these things," said Abella.

He has yet to receive official word on whether the National Security Council will convene to discuss the issue.

Abella's statements are in the wake of North Korea's threat to fire missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam.

The warning came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said further threats from Pyongyang would be met with "fire and fury."

PH envoy: We will work with Guam government

In an interview with CNN Philippines' News Night Thursday, Philippine Consul General in Guam Marciano de Borja reiterated plans are in place should North Korea's make good on its threat to fire missiles at the island nation.

He said they are working closely with the Philippine community in Guam, and they didn't want to issue any statement that was not sychronized with Guam.

 

"If there's really a threat coming, then we'll be able to advise the community and ask support from the Philippine government regarding evacuation and other contingency measures," de Borja said.

De Borja said a security umbrella is in place "to intercept any ballistic missile that will be fired against Guam." There were also other layers of protection present, but he said they could "not be discussed in detail."

As for a contingency plan, de Borja said it would be evacuation.

"Evacuating our people here may be difficult, but we just have to prepare for it," he said.

READ: North Korea 'seriously examining' a strike near Guam

North Korea's aggressive remarks have raised alarm, as a possible missile strike will affect Filipinos living in the region.

On Thursday, ACTS OFW Party-list Rep. John Bertiz urged the government to prepare response measures in case tensions between the two countries continue to escalate.

"I urge the government to have the safety of our OFWs as paramount among our concerns....Contingency plans and response measures must be ready," he said. "Our best diplomats, strategists, negotiators, and problem solvers must be at or near the table of the National Security Council."

North Korean state media reported on Thursday plans for the strike would be ready by mid-August and will await the orders of the "commander-in-chief of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) nuclear force," understood to be Kim Jong Un.

Tensions between North Korea and the U.S. have escalated in the past months, with the hermit state refusing to pull the plug on its nuclear program despite heavy economic sanctions from the international community.

North Korea has fired 18 missiles since February. On Aug. 6, the United Nations imposed sanctions on the reclusive state, which will slash the state's annual $3 billion export revenue by more than a third.

Recently, it was at the forefront of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum held in the Philippines last August 8.

North Korea assured the ASEAN it will be a "responsible nuclear power" and will pose no threat to other countries - unless they join forces with the United States.

CNN Philippines multi-platform writer Regine Cabato contributed to this story.