MANILA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government on Tuesday told Filipinos in Libya to prepare for possible evacuation, as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the alert level following days of factional fighting in that Middle East country.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano declared Libya under alert level three due to escalating violence that threatens the safety and security of an estimated 3,500 Filipinos who are still in Libya.
Cayetano, who is in Jerusalem with President Rodrigo Duterte, has also informed Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello of the decision to upgrade the alert level from two to three.
Under alert level three, all Filipinos in Libya are enjoined to start preparations for evacuation and all those with valid employment contracts who are currently on vacation in the Philippines will not be allowed to return.
The DFA said it is placing on standby rapid response teams to assist the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli in evacuating the 1,800 Filipinos in the capital who have been caught in the middle of the factional fighting that has been raging for more than a week.
Aside from fighting, the DFA also warned "instances of looting, robbery, car theft and other crimes."
The DFA also told Filipinos to store "enough food and water to last a few days," to prepare for disruptions in power supply and internet connectivity.