SM malls bomb threat a hoax
Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7) director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and the management of the country’s leading mall operator have refuted rumors being circulated through text messages and the internet of a bomb threat on its malls in Cebu and in other parts of the country.
The clarification was issued after a fake memorandum of the bomb threat on SM malls that was supposedly issued by Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP), started circulating in different social media platforms, mainly on Facebook, Twitter and Viber.
Before the document went viral in the internet, text messages containing the same information was also being shared.
The message supposedly from “SM Officers” claimed they got a message from the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf demanding to be paid $15 million or else they would bomb an SM mall. The “SM officers” claimed they were on high alert and asked the message recipients and their friends and relatives to avoid any SM branch.
The SM management in Cebu immediately belied the information as a hoax.
“We would like to confirm the information being re-circulated has been verified to be a hoax thru a joint investigation of our company and the local PNP in several areas. Moreover, the said information did not come from any SM Officer. We continue to stay alert and committed to the security and well-being of customers, tenants and employees at all times,” said a statement issued yesterday by the SM City Cebu management.
Taliño also stressed that there was never any threat to any SM mall in Metro Cebu.
“Wala tayong threat na nare-receive (We did not receive any threat),” Taliño said.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, the city’s deputy mayor on police matters, said he also received the same message and immediately asked the police to get it verified.
He urged the public to stop spreading the document as it was a hoax.
In Manila, the SM Supermalls on Sunday also denied reports of an alleged bomb threat from terror group Abu Sayyaf circulating on social media, and issued the same statement received by media organizations in Cebu describing the information as a hoax.
For its part, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) urged netizens to stop sharing the fake document and to remain calm and vigilant.
“However, like any other report we receive, the PNP is not taking the information for granted. We have strengthened our target hardening measures in all fronts down to the police precinct level. In NCRPO, we maintained our full alert status to ensure the accounting and maximum presence of our policemen in the streets and places of convergence particularly malls,” said NCRPO director Oscar Albayalde.
“The public has nothing to fear. While we request the public to remain calm, we ask them to remain vigilant and observant. Please report anything they notice unusual to the nearest police station or to any policeman on sight so that we can act immediately and appropriately. Thank you,” Albayalde added./With INQUIRER.NET
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