By Martin Sadongdong
Following a series of bombing incidents in Basilan, Masbate, and Rizal provinces, the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday alerted the public against hoax threat messages being circulated through various platforms to spread fear.
“The PNP advises the public to be cautious in handling scare rumors being spread through text, email, and digital social networks,” said PNP spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr.
He clarified that there is no “specific” threat on any particular target despite the series of bombing incidents earlier this week.
Authorities earlier said no clear connection was established in the bombing incidents in Lamitan, Basilan and Antipolo, Rizal last Tuesday, and Masbate port on Wednesday.
Following the series of bombing incidents, a chain message was circulated through text saying the Lamitan van blast was “just a prelude to a bigger attack,” a message vehemently denied by the national police force.
“The text scare being spread around is untrue and is obviously designed only to create panic. Scare messages of this nature deserve to be discarded and not shared,” Duran noted.
“Break the scare chain. Delete that message as soon as it is received,” he added.
While the PNP said there is no imminent threat in the country, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office (PRO-ARMM) have raised a heightened security alert status in their areas of responsibility.
“For good measure and everyone’s peace of mind, we are laying out a preventive security plan designed to harden possible targets and deter any attempt by threat groups to infiltrate our communities,” Durana assured.
He urged the public to remain calm but vigilant as panic would only cause confusion and fear, which is what threat groups want to happen.
Durana said peddlers of scare messages can be reported to the national emergency hotline 911 or via PNP text hotline 0917-847-5757.