A “no-fly zone” will be implemented over most of the waters east of Luzon island from April 12 to 16 in anticipation of the passing of North Korea’s rocket, Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos said Tuesday.
The “no-fly zone” will cover waters 190 nautical miles northeast of Sta. Ana, Cagayan, to 150 nautical miles of Polilio Island, Quezon, Ramos told reporters.
Aside from aircraft, ships and fishing vessels will also be prohibited from passing through the area between the two points, where boosters of the rocket are projected to fall, he said.
“They are prohibited from cruising that area, ‘yung airspace at saka ‘yung territorial waters of the republic of the Philippines from that point to Polilio, at saka ‘yung mangingisda, lahat ay binabawalan muna natin na pumunta diyan,” Ramos said.
The measures may affect several flights, but it is better to be safe, the civil defense chief said.
“‘Yung republika ng Pilipinas kasi, wala tayong capability to shoot down any missile for that matter… so a decision, through the recommendation of the concerned agencies, (was made) para hindi tayo madisgrasya,” Ramos said.
South Korea and Japan had already expressed readiness to shoot down the rocket should it pass over their territories.
“I think wala na tayong kaba dito sa republika ng Pilipinas, pero in the event lang na makalusot, dahil tao lang naman ang may gawa nito, ay apektado tayo,” Ramos said.
In an earlier forum, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin expressed doubt that North Korea will heed a possible call by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to scrap the launch.
“Based on historical facts North Korea does not listen to the majority,” he said.
President Benigno Aquino III is in Cambodia to meet his fellow leaders of ASEAN member-countries. He is expected to call on the other leaders to urge North Korea to stop its plan.
Gazmin, meanwhile, also urged people to prepare for the passing of the rocket because it is also possible that the debris will fall on Philippine soil.
“Ina-assume natin na ito ay perfect launch, but North Korea has not been successful in its previous operations so baka mag-deviate left or right, pag sumobra ng 190 papasok sa ating land area so kinakailangan magingat tayo at magprepare,” he said.
“Kung lumampas ito, overshot, direct hit ng debris ‘yung Camarines Norte at saka Catanduanes,” Ramos said, citing projections by local experts.
Gazmin and Ramos, however, admitted that the government can do nothing should the rocket debris fall on land.
“There is nothing we can do about it, magmatayag tayo and we seek cover, because we cannot shoot down a missile,” Ramos said. (John Roson)
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