Beng appeals anew re:unverified text messages PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:17

Authorities yesterday sought to allay fears among residents amid the circulation of unverified text messages that cause panic and confusion.

Police and military authorities reassured residents that everything is under control and that they are exhausting all means to thwart all forms of lawlessness.

This developed as Mayor Beng Climaco appealed to the public anew not to forward unverified text messages as these sow confusion and panic.

Prank messages orchestrated by unscrupulous individuals have been circulating the past days causing panic among the populace. The messages include advisories regarding an alleged march rally to be staged by the rebels in major streets in the city, the alleged abduction of Mayor Climaco, the alleged second attack by lawless elements similar to the September siege last year, alleged massing up of rebels in the barangays and the mass abduction of children in schools.

As a result of the text messages on alleged security threats in schools yesterday, a number of parents in Sta. Maria, Canelar and even Tugbungan rushed to schools to fetch their children before noontime. When verified with the police, all text messages circulated turned out to be negative.

Mayor Climaco urged the public to remain calm and sober but vigilant at all times. She said text messages should be verified through the 117 hotline and not forwarded to other individuals.

Despite the challenges, the mayor said, Zamboanga City situation remains normal and that authorities are in full control of the situation.

She likewise called on barangay officials and volunteers and the public in general to help safeguard their own communities.

City Police Director Col. Angelito Casimiro said police authorities together with the military have hardened anti-crime efforts but stressed that public cooperation and support is a must.

Meanwhile, the PNP Critical Incident Management Task Group PNP-CIMTG) takes headed by Col. Casimiro takes the lead in the resolution of the Labuan abduction of businesswoman Michelle Panes.

Based on the new guidelines from national headquarters, the PNP together with the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) with their military counterparts are the agencies to manage kidnapping or abduction incidents.

The local government’s role would be purely advisory and support.

Meanwhile, Mayor Climaco yesterday appealed for the safe release of Michelle Panes.

Upon learning of the abduction incident in Labuan Monday night ordered verification from PNP, Task Force Zamboanga and alerted navy and all units.

Initially, the AKG took the lead in the investigation in coordination with the City Director Casimiro. — Sheila Covarrubias

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:19