THE Philippine National Police yesterday asked anew the public to ignore and refrain from forwarding to others scare rumors regarding terror attacks since the act is punishable under the law and does not help the country which is still reeling from the effects of the Sulu Cathedral bombing which killed 22 and injured at least 100 others.
The PNP leadership headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said that scare messages being spread through text messages, mails and digital social networks should be automatically discarded and not shared by their recipients.
In many cases, bomb hoax that have forced the suspension of classes in schools and universities have been traced to some students. There were also incidents of bomb hoax traced to disgruntled company employees or aggrieved customers of some commercial establishments.
Under Presidential Decree 1727, the malicious dissemination of false information of the willful making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives or any similar device or means of destruction carries the maximum jail term of five years or a fine of not more than P40,000, said PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac.
National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar assured that Metro Manila and those at the countryside that shopping malls and hotels in the metropolis are safe amid bomb hoax which have been circulated in the aftermath of the January 27 Jolo bombing.
Eleazar told the Journal Group that Filipinos and foreign and local tourists should not fear going to shopping malls and hotels since adequate security measures are already in place in these areas long before.
He also dismissed as a ‘mere hoax’ text messages that warned of an alleged plot to bomb a big shopping mall in the metropolis if they will fail to pay US$15 million. The text message, it turned out has been circulated at least two years ago.
Eleazar, however, said that although there is no real terror threat in the metropolis, they need all the help they can get from a vigilant citizenry whom he asked to report to the nearest police station any suspicious-looking movements of persons and unattended packages and most importantly, to completely refrain from circulating bomb hoax similar to the one circulated two years ago. Eleazar asked the public to ignore a viral bomb scare triggered by a text released by a certain “Kyla Avonahceh”. After they examined the elements of the alleged message by the BCD SM ADMIN, the message sent allegedly by SM officers was obviously too casual and carefree in the face of a very serious and extremely scary threat.