Authorities are calling on all residents of Luzon, including Metro Manila, to stay indoors when North Korea’s rocket passes over Philippine territory.
The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) proposed the “stay indoors policy” for residents of Metro Manila, as well as the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol regions, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The PNRI particularly suggested that residents stay indoors from 6 a.m. to 12 noon, on April 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16, the days when North Korea is expected to launch the three-stage Unha rocket.
The NDRRMC earlier announced that a big area of the sea east of Luzon will be declared as a “no-fly,” “no sail,” and “no fishing” zone on those days.
The measure covers an area 190 nautical miles northeast of Sta. Ana, Cagayan, to waters 150 nautical miles east of Polilio Island, Quezon.
The area is where debris from the rocket’s second stage are expected to fall.
Meanwhile, the NDRRMC said the PNRI will immediately implement the National Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (Radplan) should it detect any nuclear radiation from the debris.
The PNRI earlier announced that North Korea’s rocket will not be carrying a nuclear warhead. Pyongyang had said that the rocket launch is only aimed at deploying a satellite to space.
The Radplan, approved in 2000, is a comprehensive plan aimed at addressing radiological emergencies.
Under the plan, a radiological emergency is considered as: Level 1, when radiation has not yet directly affected the country; Level 2, when a locality is already affected by radiation; and Level 3, when a big part of the country is already affected and people are experiencing high doses of radiation.
During a radiological emergency, people are advised not to panic, prevent themselves from getting exposed to more radiation, and stay indoors while waiting for emergency information from the government.
Once the Radplan takes effect, the NDRRMC will convene 12 departments of the government, the Office of the President, Office of the Press Secretary, and Red Cross. (John Roson)
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