Series of bomb threats rattle Mandaue, Manila

Series of bomb threats rattle Mandaue, Manila
Photo courtesy from MCPO

THE Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) has confirmed that the bomb threat received on Thursday, February 15, 2024, in Mandaue City was similar to the bomb scares that occurred in Manila over the past few days.

The bomb scare was sent to the official emails of the Mandaue City Government and the Department of Education (DepEd) Division of Mandaue around 1:34 p.m. on Thursday by a Japanese individual, which was later proven to be a hoax.

In response, the MCPO conducted a paneling operation with the help of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas' (PRO-7) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) K9 units to monitor the government offices and schools for any malicious items and individuals.

Police personnel were also deployed to guide the safety exit of students, as many schools opted to suspend their classes as a precaution on Thursday.

Police Colonel Maribel Getigan, MCPO director, said during a press conference on Friday, February 16, that they are continuing to coordinate with the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit Central Visayas (Racu-7) to identify the culprit behind the bomb scare.

MCPO also confirmed that the Social Security System-Central Visayasa (SSS-7) office and Regional Trial Court in the Qimonda IT Center in Cebu City received a similar bomb threat email.

Class suspension

Photo courtesy from MCPO

Edgar Espina, administration officer of the DepEd-Division of Mandaue, said the office would require schools to conduct announced drills periodically to avoid causing panic among students and school personnel following the recent incident.

These drills will involve interactive exercises that will familiarize students and school staff with the necessary steps to prepare for and respond to a bomb threat.

Espina said that immediately after receiving the bomb threat email, the division directed school heads to secure their schools by inspecting the premises and checking for any suspicious items that should be reported to the police.

He also added that even before the division ordered a suspension of the afternoon classes due to the bomb scare around 2 p.m. on Thursday, almost all public schools had already suspended their classes to ensure the safety of the students, especially those in elementary schools.

'Do not panic'

Photo courtesy from MCPO

On February 15, the Mandaue City Government released a statement advising the public not to panic in case they receive messages or emails containing bomb threats.

The statement also emphasized the importance of relying only on official sources for accurate updates and refraining from sharing unverified rumors or posts to avoid amplifying misinformation and causing unnecessary anxiety.

Furthermore, Getigan also warned those who enjoy sending bomb threats of the possibility of imprisonment once verified by the authorities.

"We have a unit to identify you (bomb threat suspects). We will file a case against you. In Mandaue City, don't be silly here because we mean business here, whoever is guilty will be held accountable," she added.

It has been stated by the Department of Justice that suspects who send bomb threat emails may face charges for violating Presidential Decree 1727, also known as the Anti-Bomb Threat Act, and the Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Under PD 1727, those found guilty may face imprisonment of up to five years, or a fine of up to P40,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

Similarly, those who violate the Cybercrime Prevention Act may face imprisonment or prison mayor, a fine of P200,000, a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred, or both.

Getigan advised the public not to panic and to report any bomb-threat emails and messages to the police immediately. So, the police can then verify the threat and take necessary security actions.

Philippines asks Japan for probe

Photo courtesy from MCPO

After several bomb threat emails that had been received from various government offices, the Philippines is now coordinating with Japan to investigate the matter.

According to a statement by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Tuesday, February 13, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) is working closely with the Japanese government to address the issue.

Within Metro Manila, 28 government agencies received a false bomb threat via email.

The CICC said that the bomb threat email was sent from Japan and had a domain name registered locally. The email was also received by multiple government agencies in Seoul, South Korea.

According to the CICC, several government agencies in the Philippines were also hit with similar bomb threats in 2023. (HIC)


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