By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) seemed to have a change of heart after the country’s top cop has cautioned the public not to ignore threat messages on security.
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the PNP, said security scares being passed on through text messaging, emails and digital social networks should still be subjected for validation and not be discarded immediately.
“These (pieces of) information are all for validation that’s why we do not take it for granted,” Albayalde said.
Last week, the PNP released a statement that threat scares being circulated should immediately be deleted and ignored since they are only meant to spread fear.
This, after a series of bombing incidents, were reported in Lamitan, Basilan; Masbate and Rizal. Authorities said there is no clear connection or pattern with the series of attacks.
Right after the incidents, a text message was circulated that a bigger attack would take place in populous areas in Metro Manila.
“Break the scare chain. DELETE that message as soon as it is received,” the statement said.
However, the PNP chief believes threat scares should be treated as intelligence information.
“Walang pinagkaiba ito sa mga information na kumalat right after the Davao bombing kaya these are all for validation. Ipinapa-validate na natin hindi lang sa NCR [National Capital Region] kundi sa buong Pilipinas (It has no difference with the information that was spread right after the Davao bombing so these are all for validation. We have given orders to validate such claims not only in the National Capital Region but in the entire Philippines),” he noted.
Albayalde was talking about a bombing incident at a night market in Davao City in September 2016 which claimed the lives of at least 14 people.
Media reports said President Duterte admitted to receiving information two days before that he received a bomb threat days before the attack.
Meanwhile, Albayalde assured that intelligence information is being strengthened to detect any threat to the country’s security and peace and order.
He, however, clarified that there is no imminent threat being monitored by intelligence operatives.
“Sa ngayon wala pa tayong nakikitang alarm or concern. We have to be on our toes. We have to intensify our intel gathering including our community-based intel monitoring (As of this time we have not yet monitored any alarm or concern. We have to be on our toes. We have to intensify our intelligence gathering including our community-based intelligence monitoring),” he said.