DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 Sept) – Tight security measures have been put in place in the wake of bombing rumors that forced the suspension of classes in six public schools in Davao City last week, a Department of Education official said Monday.
In a chance interview, DepEd Region 11 spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said the Philippine National Police, the military and even the Bureau of Fire Protection have been stationed around the schools to ensure the safety of the students.
He said rumors circulated via text messages or word of mouth cannot be taken lightly as a “bomb joke is no joke.”
He said the schools that were subject to bombing rumors were Calinan Central Elementary School, Lieutenant Villafuerte Elementary School, Mintal Central Elementary School, Sta. Ana National High School, Sta. Ana Elementary School, and Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School.
The University of Southeastern Philippines-Bo. Obrero campus and its extension campus in Mintal, and St. John Paul College of Davao were also affected only days after the explosion that killed 14 people and injured 70 others last September 2 at the night market on Roxas Avenue.
Atillo said Deped 11 is hoping that there would be no similar bomb threats that would affect classes this week to avoid panic among students and their parents.
There are over 300 public elementary schools and 60 public secondary schools in the city, he said.
Class suspensions would affect the schedule of graduation and recognition day, he said.
“There will be makeup class for every class suspended,” he said.
Atillio added all school activities would push through as scheduled to send a message to the perpetrators of the September 2 explosion that the city is not threatened by any attack.
Presidential Decree 1727 declares as “unlawful the malicious dissemination of false information of the willful making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives or any similar device or means of destruction.”
Section 1 provides that violators will be meted an imprisonment of five years or a fine of not exceeding P40,000 or both.
Davao City Police Office spokesperson Senior Insp. Catherine Dela Rey appealed to the public “to stop making prank calls, bomb joke, and avoid spreading rumors regarding bomb threats which can create panic or chaos that may result to injuries and/or damage to properties.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)