MALACANANG on Friday urged Filipinos in Iraq to follow the government advisory on mandatory evacuation to ensure their safety, as the situation in that country continues to deteriorate.
"We urge all Filipinos in the danger zones to heed the call for mandatory evacuation for their own welfare and safety," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
Coloma said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has raised to Level 4 (mandatory repatriation) the Crisis Alert for all areas in Iraq, except the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, due to the deteriorating security situation.
All Filipinos living or working in Iraq will be assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad and are advised to be ready for mandatory repatriation, he said.
"The government will undertake mandatory evacuation procedures and the DFA's Rapid Response Team is currently carrying out registration of Filipinos in Iraq for repatriation," he added.
An Al Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), continue its fierce advance in Iraq after taking a key city last week.
Jihadist militants battle Iraqi security forces for control of towns and cities not far from Baghdad, Iraq's capital.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama said he is prepared to deploy military advisers to Iraq but noted that America is not returning to a combat role in the country.
The US withdrew its last troops from Iraq end of 2011, nearly nine years after invading Iraq and toppling long-time leader Saddam Hussein. (SDR/Sunnex)