The Philippine government has advised its citizens in Libya to prepare for possible evacuation due to continuous fighting in the country.

On Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) released a statement saying it had raised to the alert level in Libya from Level 2 (restriction phase) to Level 3 (voluntary repatriation phase), ABS-CBN News reported.

Filipinos were advised to leave the country as soon as possible as the escalating violence posed a threat to their safety.

“Under Alert Level III, all Filipinos in Libya are enjoined to start preparations for evacuation and all those with valid employment contracts who are currently in vacation in the Philippines will not be allowed to return,” the DFA said.

The DFA has placed rapid response teams to assist the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli in evacuating the 1,800 Filipinos in the capital. The embassy advised Filipinos to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary movement due to mounting violence and criminality.

According to the DFA, there are more than 3,500 Filipinos working in Libya.