THE Philippine National Police leadership yesterday reminded anew the public of bomb prevention and detection tips in the wake of the nationwide security lockdown triggered by the discovery of a powerful improvised explosive device near the United States Embassy in Roxas Boulevard, Manila on Monday last week.
The PNP, headed by Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa told the public that the tips will better inform them of what to do when confronted with any literal explosive situation particularly during the Yuletide Season.
Gen. Dela Rosa said the 160,000-strong police force is already in full alert in the wake of the arrest of three suspects in the foiled plot to unleash an IED fashioned out from an 81mm mortar round some 100 meters away from the US Embassy.
He said that police since last week have been conducting mobile and random checkpoints in Metro Manila and other highly-urbanized centers in the country as part of its security lockdown. However, he said the checkpoints won’t be fixed or stationary since President Duterte has ordered the dismantling of those checkpoints amid charges they were being used by some rogues in uniform to extort money from civilians.
The PNP Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Division/K9 Group has released the bomb prevention and detection tips in the wake of a series of bomb hoax that have hit several schools and universities in Metro Manila as well as the presence of a novelty gift -- an alarm clock with fake dynamites -- which triggered the evacuation of a condominium in Malate, Manila two weeks ago.
First, PNP EOD/K9 director, Senior Superintendent Remigio Gregorio said people should know ways on how to avoid or not be a victim of terrorist bombing. Tips include the need for the public to be vigilant when in crowded places since crowds of people are the primary targets of terrorists.
Second, Gregorio said the public should be aware of unattended bags, luggage, box and vehicles in public places amid the possibility they may contain explosives.
Third, he emphasized the need for people to be aware of possible Improvised Explosive Devices or IED indicators such as metallic items, electric wires, switch and power source like battery, clock and if not visible, its ticking sound, radio or cellphone connected to wires, LED lights, bulb or other electronic parts as well as nails, ball bearings, bolts and nuts or steel rods cut into much smaller pieces.
Fourth, Gregorio said people must not touch unusual items placed in manholes or trash cans. He said that when in public area, the public should note the description and location of the suspected bomb, avoid touching, moving, tampering or transporting the material; immediately call the attention of persons in authority; always seek cover from the direction of the suspected bomb; and leave the area immediately or go to a much safer distance.
At home, leave the area immediately after discovering a suspected bomb or IED material. Gregorio said the homeowner should also quickly inform the nearest police station of his finding and follow directions from authorities.
After an explosion, the official said people should avoid crowds as they may be targeted by a secondary attack. “Leave the area as soon as possible and keep away from unattended vehicles since they may contain explosives,” he said.
Also, Gregorio said the public in the aftermath of an explosion must stay away -- at least 20 yards away -- from a damaged building to avoid falling debris. If possible, call the attention of authorities and once in a safe area, help others who are hurt or need assistance. “If you see someone who is seriously injured, seek help. Do not try to manage the situation alone and listen to your radio or television for news update,” he said.
Gregorio said the following emergency hotlines should also be jotted down. They include the PNP EOD/K9 Group’s Bomb Squad hotline 721-8544 and 413-8697 and the National Capital Region Police Office Bomb Squad at 837-6080.
Gen. Dela Rosa said that he can’t say that the foiled terror plot won’t be repeated. “We can’t read everyone’s mind but I assure the public that the PNP and the Armed Forces are trying their very best to secure the country. We are doing all we can. We are doing our best to secure the country but we cannot guarantee there will be no repeat of this incident,” he said.
The massive terror alert was raised a day after the arrest of suspects Rashid Kilala and Jiaher Guinar, 30, of Marawi City who were suspected to have placed the IED inside a trash bin near the US Embassy. The arrests were made by agents of the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Chief Superintendent Oscar D. Albayalde and the Manila Police District director headed by Senior Supt. Joel Napoleon M. Coronel.
The suspects who were believed to have declared allegiance to the Islamic State were arrested respectively in Caloocan City and Bulacan. They confessed that they planned to attack Roxas Boulevard in order to secure recognition and funding from the ISIS, as well as divert state forces from pounding Maute fighters in Lanao Del Sur.
“Ang motive nila para luluwag iyung operations doon sa Maute Group. At saka gusto nilang ma-recognize ng ISIS na talagang they are pro-ISIS, they are aligned with ISIS kung nakapagpasabog sila ng bomba at nagkaroon ng malaking pinsala, malaking casualties,” said the PNP chief.