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SoKor rocket launch postponed anew; Phl downgrades alert

MANILA, Philippines - The government on Thursday deferred its plan to impose a ban on flying, sailing and fishing on some parts of the country after a technical problem forced South Korea to postpone anew its planned rocket launch.

The implementation of the no-fly, no-sail and no-fishing zones was supposed to take effect from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday.

South Korea, however, announced that its rocket experienced a technical glitch minutes before the launch.

“The no-fly, no sail and no fish zone will be lifted until further notice,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Benito Ramos said in a press briefing Thursday afternoon.

“A problem was detected 17 minutes before scheduled launch time,” he added.

Ramos downgraded the alert level of the NDRRMC from red alert to blue due to the deferment of the rocket launch. The public, however, was advised to continue monitoring developments.

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“We are still waiting for word from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology of the Republic of Korea,” he said.

The ban would have spanned waters and air space off the Bicol provinces, Samar, Leyte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

The “exclusion zone” would have covered a 600-kilometer by 400-kilometer area about 540 nautical miles east of the Philippine eastern seaboard.

Such ban would force airlines and shipping firms to implement rerouting schemes.

Last month, South Korea announced plans to launch a satellite into orbit as part of its scientific research program.

The Science and Technology Satellite-2 aboard Korea Space Launch Vehicle-I was supposed to originate from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, Jeollanam-do.

The original window of the launch was October 26 to 31 but this was deferred due to a fuel problem.

South Korea tried to launch the rocket on November 9, but postponed it anew due to a technical glitch.

South Korea also tried to launch a similar rocket in 2009 and 2010 but failed.

The government has undertaken preparedness measures in the event that debris from the rocket land on Philippine territory.

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