Students in De La Salle Lipa were alarmed this morning by an anonymous text message claiming that there were improvised explosive devices hidden in the campus buildings.
“I want to play with you… I call this play [sic], Hide and BOOM,” the text message reads in part.
The message was claiming to be from a would-be transferee that the institution rejected and identified the Mabini Hall (MB) and the College of Business, Economics, Accountancy, and Management (CBEAM) building as those which were allegedly planted with bombs.
But contrary to the message, DLSL was declared clear of the threat at around 9 am.
The text messages were received by at least four college students, the firsts of which were between 7:20 and 7:45 am.
Among the recipients were two BS Psychology students, an ECE student, and a BS Accountancy student.
One of the two Psychology students said that she received the message while preparing for school.
“I thought it was just [a] typical announcement from the school but when I continued reading it I was really shocked… I was the only one in the class who received it. I [told] my parents… They told me to report it to my teacher,” she shared.
She said that she reported it to Julie Dimaculangan of the Psychology Department, who then called the attention of the Institutional Safety and Security and Emergency Services Office (ISSESO).
As this happened, screenshots of the text message also started spreading through Facebook messenger by Lasallians.
Despite the reported threat, and even after a series of messages from the same number, students were not asked by the ISSESO to evacuate from the buildings.
According to Strategic Communications Office (Stratcom) PRO Celine Francisco, this is because the ISSESO should first verify the threat before issuing an evacuation, so as not to raise panic.
“Protocol ng ISSESO na they have to identify within the group kung meron nga ba,” she said.
However, since the text message was spreading online, some college students in the CBEAM and MB, and senior high students at the Jose Rizal buildings (JRN and JRF) evacuated their rooms, some as advised by their professors. There were also senior high school students who were fetched by their parents.
However, upon exiting the buildings, they were asked by the security guards to go back to their classrooms.
At 9 am, DLSL officially stated through the institution’s text messaging system and a post in their Twitter account that the campus has been inspected and evaluated as “100% clear”.
However, Malou Malaluan, Stratcom Director, said that further investigations were still made to ensure the safety of the area.
She said that it was a good thing that students reported the issue to the ISSESO instead of posting it on social media, which might have caused panic.
(With reports from Christian Davis Carandang and Anjali Piya)