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Bomb threats hit Metro Manila, Luzon offices, schools

MANILA, Philippines — Bomb threats sent through email and text messaging disrupted yesterday operations in at least seven government offices and two schools in Metro Manila, Bataan and Zambales.

The threats were carried out reportedly by an individual claiming to be a Japanese lawyer.

The same suspect was responsible for similar bomb threats on government establishments in September and October last year, police said.

“A person who introduced himself as Takahiro Karasawa, who claimed to be a Japanese lawyer, has been using the same email to send bomb threat messages,” Philippine National Police public information office chief Col. Jean Fajardo said.

In Quezon City, bomb threats were sent to the offices of the National Housing Authority, the Commission on Audit, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippine Competition Commission and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM).

The Department of Science and Technology in Bicutan, Taguig and the Insurance Commission in Ermita, Manila also received bomb threats.

The National Capital Region Police Office also reported bomb threat incidents at Panghulo Elementary School in Malabon and Pasig Elementary School in Barangay San Nicolas.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) also said it had received a bomb threat.

Fajardo said the establishments that received bomb threats were made to undergo precautionary measures like evacuating their occupants and subjecting the offices to thorough check by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal and K-9 unit.

At a briefing in Camp Bagong Diwa, PNP chief Benjamin Acorda Jr. emphasized the need for authorities to take threats seriously.

He said that efforts were underway – in coordination with international agencies – to track down the suspect. He said authorities were able to trace the origin of one of the emails but the individual involved denied sending the bomb threats.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the said person, according to him, his email was hacked or someone assumed his identity. So we are still looking for this perpetrator,” he said.

Acorda said that while the bomb threats turned out to be hoaxes, the PNP is responding