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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MEMBERS of the elite Special Weapons and Tactics team and the Iloilo City Police Office’s (ICPO) Explosive and Ordnance Division (EOD) were deployed to two shopping malls early morning Wednesday following alleged bomb threats.

Intelligence operatives in the PNP and the military said they received raw information Tuesday evening that the New People’s Army will attempt to bomb Gaisano City Capital mall in LaPaz and Robinsons Place in Iloilo City Proper district.

SPO3 Rafael Managuit of the EOD said they were ordered to inspect and secure the two malls as early as 6am yesterday.

Managuit said they did not find any suspicious package or persons around the two malls except for a box of stale pizza in Gaisano.

“Only the two malls were specified as possible targets and we were deployed to secure the said areas per order of our superiors,” Managuit said.

Managuit did not immediately confirm if the NPA is behind the bomb plot.

In a telephone interview, Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias, ICPO director, said the information they received was raw and subject to further verification.

“But since this is a bomb threat, we did not take our chances and dispatched the EOD and Swat to secure the two malls. We did things discreetly as much as possible to avoid causing alarm to mall goers and the general public,” Tobias said.

Tobias said they also briefed the malls’ security personnel on what to do in case they find suspicious items or persons in their areas of responsibility.

The ICPO chief said they are still verifying the raw intelligence information they received relative to the alleged bomb plot.

Military intelligence sources said similar bomb threats on the same malls circulated in Iloilo City last April and July.

Aside from Iloilo City, the bomb threat on the two malls also circulated in Davao and Manila.

The intelligence sources said they continue to verify the information and trace the actual source.

 

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