AN OFFICIAL of the Police Regional Office warned the public against making bomb jokes, saying this could get them arrested.
The official said police authorities have had it with prank calls about supposed bomb threats particularly in Cogon, Gusa, Capistrano St., and just recently, in the Agora Bus Integrated Bus and Terminal in Barangay Lapasan.
Police Regional Office spokesperson Surki Sereñas said under the Presidential Decree (PD) 1727, the malicious dissemination of false information of threats about bombs and similar explosive devices is unlawful.
Under the decree, making such pranks can lead to prison time of up to five years.
Bail for a person charged with violating PD 1727 can be as much as P40,000.
“We discourage people doing this because it is unlawful, and besides they could be arrested bisan joke lang na,” Sereñas said.
“Ginasakyan pud sa ubang tao ang atong sitwasyon karon, dili raba gayud makatabang. Imbis na mangita unta sila ug ikatabang in their own little way, maka-cause naman hinuon ug panic, happy man siguro sila hinuon nga maka-cause ug panic and this act should not be tolerated,” Sereñas said.
Agora police station Commander Ariel Phillip Pontillas said that around 5 p.m. Thursday, September 8, someone called him to confirm whether the news that a bomb exploded inside the terminal was true.
Pontillas said the information triggered alarm but police were quick to check the whole area for security measures but did not notice any explosion or any suspicious objects.
“Ato silang gi-discourage nga dili sila magpasa ug unverified reports, labina on bombing kay bombing is not a joke. Saying there is a bomb is not a joke, it is considered a threat. Dili maayo nga act kay dili siya joke ilabina karon nga panahon,” he said.
Pontillas said threats are however taken seriously by the authorities.
“Syempre ang atong mga intelligent karon, active pud kay dili pud angay palabyon ang mga threats kay basin usa pud kini ka strategy sa sa mga terorista nga guboton ang isa ka area pero lahi man diay ilang target. We should still be careful,” he added.
Sereñas, for his part, said although the present situation is volatile due to terror threat from the Abu Sayyaf Group and similar groups, the public is advised not to panic and at the same time be vigilant.
Bomb scares have been a trend nationwide since the deadly Davao blast that killed 14 people and injured some 70 others.
Last Tuesday, Sereñas said the armed forces and police have conducted joint checkpoints and chokepoints, security patrols, target hardening measures, deployment in “soft targets” in churches, markets, malls, transport terminals, airports, seaports, other places of convergence and thickly populated areas.
The joint force of army and police in law enforcement is the result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration placing the nation under state of emergency to thwart terror acts.