Bomb scare rocks school campuses

PRANKSTERS TAGGED AS SUSPECTS

THE police are investigating the series of bomb threats received by five campuses over a three-day period, October 24-26, and hold those behind those pranks responsible.

P/Sr. Superintendent Wilson Lopez said the provincial police office has started coordinating with the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cyber Crime Group for assistance.

He said three college and two high school campuses were victimized by bomb threats: Pan Pacific University in Urdaneta City, University of Luzon (UL) in Dagupan City and its Pozorrubio town campus, Mangaldan National High School in Mangaldan, and Pangasinan National High School in Lingayen.

“When we received the report, we act on it immediately,” Lopez said.

He suspects that the pranksters are likely students because the period is the final exam week and therefore found it convenient to disturb the schedule by employing a bomb threat trick.

Lopez said other areas like in Baguio City also experience bomb scare during exam periods.

On Friday, P/Superintendent Charlie Umayam, Lingayen police chief, said bomb-sniffing dogs and the Special Weapons and Tactics and Explosives and Ordnance Division elements were immediately sent to Pangasinan National High School to check on the bomb threat received early Friday morning to the Messenger account of School Principal Elvira Viray.

After a thorough check, Umayam said that at around 9:00 a.m., the school was cleared.

On Thursday morning, UL had also its share of bomb threat prompting school authorities to suspend classes.

When UL students were told to go home, traffic was put to a snarl prompting commuters and drivers to wonder what was going on.

In a statement, the UL administration said the bomb threat came after one university in Urdaneta also received a bomb threat Wednesday that turned out also to be a hoax.

“Whether it is real or false, UL will always consider seriously all threats that might affect the students and the public’s safety,” the statement said.

It added, “Thus, UL acted immediately, coordinated with the police to investigate promptly and appropriately.”

On Oct. 24, the Pan Pacific University in Urdaneta City, a criminology student initially found what appeared to be an improvised explosive device (IED) inside the men’s comfort room and the university promptly suspended all classes. The canisters that allegedly contained a bomb were found to contain paper, stones and sand.Meanwhile, the police consider the series of bomb scare that rocked the five campuses in Pangasinan the work of pranksters and not of terrorists out to sow fear upon the population.

P/Superintendent Jandale Sulit, chief of police of Dagupan City, told media after clearing operations at the University of Luzon main campus in Dagupan City and in Pozorrubio town on October 25.

The bomb threats aimed at the two UL campuses was made known through social media and in text messages and pointed to bombs planted in rooms of the two UL campuses.

Sulit said similar bomb threat was reported at a school in Mangaldan town on Oct. 24 but this also turned out to be a prank.

The police got wind of the bomb threat at UL when a security officer of the university went to the police in the mid-morning to ask for help after he received a text message that there were bombs planted in some rooms in the main campus and in UL campus in Pozorrubio.

Sulit immediately coordinated with the UL authorities to order the evacuation while the police searched the campus.

As a result, traffic came to a halt along Perez Boulevard and along Zamora Street at past 10 A.M. as thousands of students momentarily left their classes because of the incident.

The Bomb and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team from the PNP provincial office arrived along with sniffing dogs and searched the campus.

The search was completed at past 1:00 p.m. and the campus was declared free of danger.

The same procedure was done at the UL campus in Pozorrubio at about the same time and the campus was declared free of any threat at about the same time.

“We will go after the person behind the bomb scare because the incident had a very serious implications to the city of Dagupan, Sulit said citing a law that penalizes spread of false information that alarm and cause panic to the public. (Leonardo Micua with PhilStar News Service)

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