By Samuel Medenilla
The government is ready to repatriate thousands of Filipinos in Guam and South Korea in case the security situation in both countries deteriorates, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that a contingency plan is already in place in case the safety of Filipinos in Guam and South Korea becomes at risk.
“We are prepared especially since the President gave us additional budgetary allocation,” Bello said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and DOLE are currently monitoring the status of Filipinos in Guam and South Korea after North Korea threatened last week to launch missile strikes against Guam.
The US and North Korea are currently locked in a political turmoil due to the latter’s nuclear weapons program and intercontinental ballistic missile (IBM) tests.
“So far the situation there (in Guam and South Korea) remains normal…we have yet to receive any request for repatriation,” Bello said.
Aside for repatriation aid, Bello also pointed out the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has enough funds to provide reintegration assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFW), who may be repatriated from Guam and South Korea.
According to DFA, there are currently around 42,000 Filipinos in Guam.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) said there are around 60,000 Filipinos in South Korea, based on its 2014 stock estimates.