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MANILA, Philippines – Following the bomb threats targeting government offices, Justice Secretary Boying Remulla ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation in collaboration with the Japan police attaché and other concerned law enforcement agencies.
The office of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Bataan received a bomb threat via email on Monday morning, prompting the agency to suspend office work and instruct schools to hold asynchronous classes instead.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in a statement that it received a similar threat at around 10 am. DENR employees were immediately evacuated.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), too, was disrupted by the threats.
The sender of the bomb threats used the name Takahiro Karasawa, the same Japanese handle used by those who threatened the MRT-3 system last September 2023.
The NBI noted that the name Karasawa was also associated with bomb threats in different countries.
“This alarming pattern emphasizes the need for immediate and decisive action,” the NBI said in a statement.
The justice department and the NBI said they were taking the matter “extremely seriously and will be dealt with accordingly, in full compliance with the law.”
“The NBI is committed to conducting a thorough and impartial investigation, leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice,” said NBI director Medardo de Lemos.
It’s been exactly a week when some members of the House of Representatives reportedly received bomb threats. This raised security measures at the Batasang Pambansa complex.
The PNP later described the threats at DepEd and DENR as hoaxes.
“Upon thorough investigation in cooperation with the Philippine National Police, the information being circulated has been verified to be a hoax,” the DENR said in a statement.
“The DENR calls for vigilant sobriety and advises everyone to immediately report suspicious activity to local authorities.”
The Quezon City Police Department said there were “no signs of any bombs or any improvised explosive device” in the DENR central office.
Bataan Governor Joet Garcia told the public to be vigilant of content they see online.
“Pinabubulaanan din po ng mga awtoridad ang kumakalat na video sa social media na may natagpuang bomba sa Culis, Hermosa,” Garcia said in a post on Monday.
(Authorities refuted that the video of the retrieval of a bomb circulating in social media was from Culis, Hermosa.)