(UPDATED) THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday raised crisis alert level 4 in Iraq amid the continued deterioration of the security situation in the country brought by the advancing militants towards Baghdad.
In an advisory, the DFA said it has decided to raise the alert level in the entire country except in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, which, it said, remains "relatively calm and stable".
"Due to the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Department of Foreign Affairs has raised the crisis alert level for all areas in Iraq to alert level 4 (Mandatory Repatriation) except for the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, which remains under alert level 1 (Precautionary Phase)," said the DFA.
Under crisis alert level 4, the Philippine government will be implementing a mandatory evacuation program at no expense to Filipino nationals.
Filipinos in Iraq, the DFA assured, will be assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad and the Rapid Response Team, which are currently undertaking registration of overseas Filipino workers for repatriation.
"The DFA continues to closely monitor the political and security developments in Iraq," said the department.
On Thursday, the White House said the Iraqi government has already called on the United States to conduct air strikes against militants, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, in order to stop them from further seizing other towns of Iraq.
The call comes after the militant group attacked the country's main oil refinery while en route towards capturing the capital.
It was just last Saturday when the DFA raised crisis alert level 3 in Iraq and began urging Filipinos there to avail of the voluntary repatriation program of the government. (HDT/Sunnex)