A fighter loyal to the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord watches as smoke rises in the distance during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, in Espiaa, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 29, 2019. Fierce fighting for control of Libya's capital that has already displaced tens of thousands of people threatens to bring a further worsening of humanitarian conditions, a senior UN official has warned.
AFP/Fadel Senna
Alert Level 4 raised in Libya, says Locsin
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - May 1, 2019 - 11:43am

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. said Wednesday that Alert Level 4 has been raised in Libya amid escalating violence in the country.

This is the highest Alert Level that the Department of Foreign Affairs assigns to destinations and orders evacuation or mandatory repatriation of Filipinos.

Locsin said on his Twitter account that he has informed President Rodrigo Duterte of raising the alert level in Tripoli. “More mortar fire, more Filipinos hurt,” Locsin said.

But the nation’s top diplomat said that while Alert Level 4 means mandatory evacuation, the government “cannot compel—and rightly so.”

“What is mandatory is that DFA stays in Tripoli until last [Overseas Filipino Worker] goes—and then it stays,” he added.

According to the DFA website, Alert Level 4 is issued “when there is large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack.” Travellers are also told to exercise precautions before going to the destination and while travelling.

Locsin has repeatedly appealed online to Filipinos working in the Libyan capital to heed the government’s call but said that the OFWs would decide for themselves on repatriation.

A Philippine flag has been spread on the roof of the Philippine embassy in Libya to send a message that the country is "everyone’s friend" and protect Filipinos there from attack.

On April 18, the DFA started the evacuation of Filipinos from Tripoli. The first batch was of seven Filipinos, three hospital workers and four students.

Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato also posted an update on the situation in Libya on Tuesday.

He said: “As the fighting gets closer to us, the ability of [the Philippine Embassy] to respond to calls for assistance by Filipinos in distress becomes more difficult or even impossible to carry out.”

Cato reiterated the government’s call for Filipinos in Libya to seek protection.

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS LIBYA TEDDY LOCSIN
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