As of Saturday night, police authorities are still clueless about the identity of the person behind last Tuesday’s bomb scare that sent patients and medical personnel out of a hospital building where an alleged explosive device was left inside.
Senior Superintendent Felipe Rivera Natividad, director of the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO), said they have asked assistance from the city government in order to help unmask the identity of the caller. Natividad hinted they would also tap the help of telco companies to trace the caller’s location.
Natividad said police are also coordinating with the management of Borja Family Hospital, of Tagbilaran City in Bohol, in the investigation. CCTV cameras at the hospital facility are also being reviewed.
The management of Borja Family Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, September 19, scampered to evacuate their patients and medical staff after the hospital’s information desk received a call from a Tagalog-speaking person warning of an alleged presence of explosive material inside the building.
The management then notified authorities. Around 3:45 p.m., the hospital building was already emptied of its occupants as bomb experts from Manila, who were deployed in Panglao, Bohol for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, was asked to scour the entire building.
Natividad declared the area safe and secure past 5 p.m. after the bomb experts found nothing unusual inside the hospital building.
“We were not taking any chances. We considered the bomb threat seriously until the place was cleared of any danger,” Natividad told media.
The police director ruled out the ongoing Asean meeting in Panglao Island as incidental to the bomb scare, the first in the city ever.
Meanwhile, sources have said they are suspecting the prank caller could be a disgruntled patient who has an ax to grind on the hospital management over their alleged costly medical bill.
PANDEMONIUM ALONG GALLARES STREET
More than a hundred patients, nurses, physicians and other medical personnel of a privately-owned hospital facility in Tagbilaran City, Bohol were evacuated after the management received a bomb threat Tuesday afternoon, September 19, which police authorities later ruled out to be a hoax, but not after it had already triggered pandemonium in the streets.
Natividad declared the building and premises of Borja Family Hospital “safe and secured” around 5 p.m. Tuesday, or three hours after the hospital’s information desk received a message on the phone from a Tagalog-speaking man warning of an alleged existence of explosive material inside the hospital.
The bomb threat was not taken lightly by Dr. Jose “Pepe” Borja, the hospital owner, as he immediately followed police’s order to evacuate everyone inside the four-story medical facility, which is currently hosting a free surgical mission for the poor, with physicians from abroad taking part in the charitable project initiated by the provincial government of Bohol.
Incidentally, Bohol was hosting one of the meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a summit currently held in Panglao town, located 30 km from Tagbilaran City, from September 19-21, 2017.
Bohol had also hosted an ASEAN meeting in April this year, a week before some Abu Sayyaf bandits were neutralized by government security forces before those terrorists could launch bombing and kidnapping activities here.
During today’s three-hour scare, police had to control the throngs of people who were too curious to watch how bomb experts, who were earlier deployed in Panglao Island for the ASEAN summit but were called in today to handle the seeming crisis, managed the situation.
“We have a lot to learn from this situation. We will review our strategies in dealing with a critical situation like this,” Natividad said, adding that Tuesday’s bomb threat in a hospital setting is believed to be the first time it ever reported in Bohol province.