TACLOBAN CITY- Panic ensued in this city on Monday morning after a suspicious box was reported to contain a bomb which turned out to be a hoax.
The item, later discovered to be a mobile phone with a speaker attached to it, was found inside a police tent located along Rizal Street, one of the busiests thoroughfares in the city.
Chief Inspector Rudy Conejo, Jr., police chief of Tacloban City Police Station II, said that one of the assigned policemen at the area called up their station at around 6 am claiming that the suspicious item may contain a bomb.
Right away, they called up their regional headquarters located in Palo town to send a team of explosives and ordnance and disposal (EOD) to check the box containing the suspicious item.
He said the team, which arrived at the scene around 7 am, cordoned the area which is located just within a nearby gasoline station.
“The team used a device to detonate the suspicious item which later discovered to only contain a mobile phone with a speaker,” Conejo said.
The item was set off right at the area by the EOD team using their own improvised explosive device which caused a minor explosion sound.
“This could be the reason why some people thought the box contain a bomb,” Conejo explained.
“There was no bomb found inside the box. That is why, we can assure our people in the city that we are safe and secure,” the police officer added.
Conejo said that they have not monitored any information of a possible bomb threat in the city.
The incident sent panic in the city as many parents did not allowed their children to attend schools.
The incident was also posted by many social media users claiming that a bomb exploded in Tacloban, the regional capital of more than 220,000 people.
Conejo appealed to the public, especially those who are using the social media to be “careful and responsible” on what they post.
“This will only cause confusion and panic among our people. If they found something suspicious, please call our hotline (09176317752) or report it to our office,” Conejo added.
He added that they have yet to determine who could be behind this incident.
“We don‘t know yet if the item was purposely left behind by the owner or it was meant to scare us,” the police officer said.
On December 28, a twin bomb explosion rocked the town of Hilongos in Leyte that injured 32 people.
The Maute Group, a local terrorist group based in Lanao del Sur, was blamed by the police authorities as behind the incident. (with report PETER NOYA, EVSU Intern)
By: Joey A. Gabieta