MANILA -- The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Wednesday said a message circulating on social media regarding an alleged plot from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to bomb a chain of malls in the metropolis is a hoax.
“This is a replay of a similar hoax meant to sow alarm and panic among the citizens in Metro Manila, and done by people who are clearly enemies of the state or by irresponsible pranksters,” NCRPO head, Director Guillermo Eleazar said in a message to reporters.
Eleazar's remarks came after a message from a certain Kyla Avonahceh claimed that officials of the SM Supermalls are advising the public to refrain from visiting its malls for the meantime due to bomb threats from the terror group.
The message also said the mall giant must give USD15 million to the ASG to avoid such attacks.
"If the threat is real, a more responsible company and a sane organization like SM would immediately go to the NCRPO and any announcement will likely be done in the sober traditional media such as television, radio and print, rather than just in social media where fake news is already a permanent fixture," Eleazar said.
The NCRPO chief, however, assured that they are undertaking necessary security measures for the whole of Metro Manila, including gathering of intelligence reports to pinpoint any suspicious personalities.
“I encourage the public to be calm but alert and vigilant. I enjoin our citizens to be aware of their surroundings and report to the nearest barangay or policeman, any suspicious person or unusual behavior they may notice. Let us go by the required daily activities of life with our families, friends and co-workers. Let's continue to enjoy our lives. I ask our fellow Metro Manilans to be patient and cooperative with our heightened security procedures which is for the good of all,” Eleazar added.
In a statement, SM Supermalls denied issuing such message.
"The information has been recirculated already for the past three years. It has been verified to be a hoax thru a joint investigation of our company and the local PNP (Philippine National Police) in several areas," the company said.
It added that there is no officer with such name that is connected to the company. (PNA)
Photo by Niño Jesus Orbeta/Inquirer