THE Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) has assured residents that the city remains safe amid text messages circulating on social media on Thursday, May 26, 2022, on threats to bomb at least four establishments in the city.

The CCPO, however, is tightening its security measures following a bomb explosion inside a passenger bus in Koronadal City, South Cotabato past noon Thursday.

Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, CCPO’s deputy director for operations, clarified that the threat to bomb the Qimonda Building at the North Reclamation Area where the Cebu City Hall of Justice is located, the Cebu City Legislative building, Carbon Market and the newly opened Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway on Thursday, which turned out to be a hoax, had nothing to do with the bombing in Mindanao.

The CCPO ordered all its 11 police station commanders to strictly implement security measures in their respective jurisdiction to thwart possible terror attacks.

Parilla said they would implement target hardening in places where people gather such as seaports, terminals, malls, plazas and churches.

The CCPO also enhanced its intelligence monitoring, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Muslim community and other groups.

“Target hardening, meaning we’ll beef up our security so that lawless elements will find it difficult to sow terror in places of convergence,” Parilla said.

During a meeting called by Vice Mayor Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros on Friday, May 27, following the bomb threat, the CCPO described the threat as not alarming and gave the assurance that the city remains safe.

Criminal case

But Hontiveros, who served as acting mayor starting Friday, said they are contemplating on filing a criminal case against those behind the multiple bomb threats that were sent on Thursday.

Hontiveros said said police personnel showed the screenshots of the text message that contained the warning of a bomb explosion.

Hontiveros was also told by police that there was an employee of the Cebu City Hall of Justice who received a call about an impending explosion.

The message said the targets of the bombing were the Qimonda Building in the North Reclamation Area where the Cebu City Hall of Justice is based, the Cebu City Legislative Building in Cebu City Hall, Carbon Market, and the newly opened Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

Hontiveros said filing a criminal complaint will serve as a lesson to the culprits and further suppress other individuals from creating panic in the community.

Councilor Phillip Zafra, chairman of the committee on peace and order, said even if the threat was a hoax, the city government is treating it seriously.

Zafra said they will get to the bottom of this incident and pleaded to the local police to uncover the identity of the person behind the bomb threats.

Making bomb threats, regardless if it is a joke, is punishable under Presidential Decree 1727.

The law states that if a person is found guilty, he or she could face penalties including prison time of not more than five years or a fine of not more than P40,000, or both. (IRT, AYB / TPT)