Prank bomb threats hit Metro Manila anew
(The Philippine Star) - September 8, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Police appealed to the public to refrain from making bomb hoaxes as pranksters targeted more government offices, malls and schools in Metro Manila yesterday.

The Quezon City Hall of Justice, Doña Rosario High School in Barangay Novaliches and malls in the city were the latest to receive bomb threats, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Senior Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar said.

A text message saying the Abu Sayyaf would bomb malls if their demand for $15 million was not granted circulated online, Eleazar said.

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 78 and the registrar’s office of the Doña Rosario High School received bomb threats, which turned out to be a hoax.

“Making prank bomb threats cause public fear, panic or paranoia,” Eleazar said.

Police said three schools in Quezon City also received bomb threats on Monday: The General Roxas Elementary School in Barangay Roxas District, Diosdado Macapagal Elementary School in Barangay Tatalon and Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science and Technology High School in Barangay Obrero.

The University of the Philippines in Diliman also reported a bomb threat last Friday afternoon.

On Tuesday, employees of the Bureau of Internal Revenue main office in Quezon City panicked after a suspicious package believed to contain explosives turned out to be harmless

The QCPD has yet to identify those responsible for the bomb threats.

NAIA gets terror threat; security up

Security at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has been intensified after airport officials received a terror threat through a text message yesterday.

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Aviation Security Group, airport police special operations unit, bomb disposal and K-9 units were deployed to the airport following the threat.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) confirmed that a message saying “ISIS next target Manila” was received by a female NAIA staff through its official hotline 0917-TEXNAIA.

Officials said the sender of the message used a prepaid SIM card.

The staff who received the threat immediately reported it to the office of the assistant general manager for security and emergency services.

Although the airport’s SMS (short messaging service) hotline is a publicly-listed number, the MIAA did not take the message lightly.

It said the message is being assessed with the help of other government agencies.

The MIAA added that NAIA would be on full alert against attempts to disrupt airport operations.

Driver held for bomb joke

Meanwhile, an air cargo driver was arrested for cracking a bomb joke during inspection at the NAIA Terminal 4 on Tuesday.

Marlon Soriano, 34, an employee of Air Service Cargo Express along NAIA Road in Parañaque City, was nabbed at 2:45 p.m., according to PNP Aviation Security Group director Chief Superintendent Mao Aplasca.

Aplasca said security officers were inspecting the van driven by Soriano when he said “there’s a bomb under the vehicle.”

Charges of violation of Presidential Decree 1727, the anti-bomb joke law, were filed against Soriano before the Pasay City prosecutor’s office.

Aplasca warned the public that making bomb jokes is a crime.

DepEd appeals to public

Education officials appealed to the public to stop spreading hoax bomb threats, which cause class disruptions and panic among students, teachers and parents.

“We urge the public to report information on terror threats to police and to avoid spreading unverified information, especially on social media,” the Department of Education (DepEd) said.

Bomb threats have been reported in several schools in Metro Manila following the bombing of a night market in Davao City that left 14 people dead and scores wounded on Sept. 2.

While the bomb threats turned out to be a hoax, the DepEd reiterated its call for more police and barangay watchmen near schools.

It also reminded schools to intensify security and to be extra vigilant to ensure the safety of students, teachers and other personnel.

On Tuesday, at least three schools in Davao City received bomb threats.

Four schools at the university belt near Malacañang in Manila also received bomb threats, prompting the suspension of classes.

Bomb scares disrupted the operations of the Makati City Hall and a school in Quezon City.

Police said they would remain on full alert and would patrol schools, malls and other public places. Checkpoints were set up around Metro Manila. – With Rudy Santos, Helen Flores, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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