A bomb threat in Sibulan, Negros Oriental, that turned out to be a hoax failed to disrupt classes at a the Sibulan Central Elementary School, which was also the venue for an activity of the Department of Education with DepEd Undersecretary Yolanda Quijano, congressmen, and other bigwigs attending.
The bomb threat was received via a text message sent to a radio anchorman early yesterday morning, Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, provincial director of the Philippine National Police in Negros Oriental, said.
The anchorman, not wanting to cause undue public panic, passed on the text message to Lawas for verification.
Lawas then deployed the Sibulan police, the Explosives Ordnance Division and the Special Weapons and Tactics teams of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office, to conduct a thorough search of the venue and declared it clear before the DepEd program could start around 9 a.m.
A K-9 dog of the Sibulan municipal hall was also brought in to help in the search for the purported explosive device, he added.
The sweeping search of the school was done in a manner that avoided unnecessary panic, Lawas said, especially as children and teachers were already arriving about the same time that police were scouring the school buildings.
Lawas said the police and the school principal told the children that the presence of uniformed and armed police personnel was just part of a bomb-threat drill and there was no cause for alarm.
Lawas said police investigators still have to determine whether the hoax bomb threat had a direct link to the DepEd activity, the SEAMEO INNOTECH (Southeast Asian Minister of Education, Organization, Innovation and Technology) visit.
The program was attended by Quijano, SEAMEO INNOTECH chief Yolanda de las Alas, the three House Representatives of Negros Oriental -- Jocelyn Limkaichong (1st district), George Arnaiz (2nd district) and Pryde Henry Teves (3rd district), former Rep. Herminio Teves, local government and school officials.
The bomb threat comes as the PNP has been declared on full alert nationwide following Tuesday’s bomb attack on a passenger bus in Makati City that left four people dead and 14 other passengers injured.
The motive for the threat was not also immediately established, but Lawas appealed to the public to exercise caution in treating information that may disrupt normal daily activities in the province.
Lawas also thinks that the sources of the purported bomb threats such as in previous incidents could be people with idle minds.*JFP
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