Metro Manila : Oct. 21 ‘the Sabado night text & email plot that was not.’

October 22, 2006 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

Many in the media like myself got calls, emails, and text messages, about a supposed Oct. 21 surprise allegedly by bomb – the targets reportedly were in the ‘warning’ included popular malls and nightspots.

[]… ‘Ignore terror attack text messages’
Gulf News, United Arab Emirates – The Philippines has been dubbed as the world’s texting capital. Philippine authorities have raised a high alert after the police blamed the Abu Sayyaf, …[]

It is a puzzle many were trying to figure out in Metro Manila, the authorities included. about barrage of emails and a alleged plot versus the shopping/business district allegedly on Oct 21, 2006 so reports say.

I had checked out the flood of messages at several levels and most people in government and diplomatic service say it’s a hoax fueled by recent events in Mindanao.

Yet, at least two embassies in their travel advisories while not naming the ‘mall’ specifically in metro manila as a target -Did issue warnings people to avoid those places.

Even as the PNP said Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said, “Pass these messages to our text hot line so that we can validate the information being passed around on terror attacks.” reports said- “Mobile phone owners have complained about receiving text messages on terror attacks this weekend.”

‘Better not to take any chances,’ said the embassy press officers who did not want to be identified – but – they say ‘erring on the side of caution’ is something their governments often do just in case with things like this as you can never be too careful.

Many pointed out that even though Ramadan ends with Eid on the 24th – it can be noted that some call this the dark period of uncertainty and a time of ‘no moon’ hence if folklore and old stories are to believed this is often a time of extremist actions.
There have been several interceptions of explosives in recent days and last week as well – information also leaking out that these were to be shipped to metro manila.

What puzzles me and others in media here is the tendency to deny or downplay event warnings like these when they happen. While foreign embassy people tend to go overboard with caution – the Government does issue warnings but little has been mentioned on the email and text message barrage.

common sense is though there are often few warnings when things like these happen so it seems unlikely – thinking back – it indeed was rare in past events for information to leak out. So many like myself in journalism profession had a Sabado night alert – and hung out – went to malls and traveled a bit to see and be seen to check if there is anything that might go on.

Security was a little more than normal where ever one went – from Makati to Manila to Ortigas center in Mandaluyong there seemed to be added presence – a good thing when things like this are rumored to in the works.

If in-deed anything was planned for the 21st – as of my wall clock – it didn’t happen – it’s 1:30 in the morning and so far only the normal and semi-normal events of a sabado night have happened.

But if anything was thwarted tonight – there is need – and I do mean a need – to show even how the non-events that have happened over recent years. Credit should be given to anyone who prevented plans or foiled whatever did not happen.

Is it not better to err on the side of caution? Like what those embassies did? Is it not a more important issue to show exactly how effective many of the efforts have been versus these violent groups?

I think the other side and the ‘organizations’ know when nothing happens – that the authorities have put a stop to their plans and plots. So why not let the public in on it?
Remember the Pope’s visit during world youth day manila in the mid 1990’s? Police, the Military, and, PSG forces deserve a medal for the efforts they did – that over handed level of security foiled Ramsey Youseff and Kalhahid Shiek Mohamads plot

– also during APEC later that year: Only years later was it all explained as to why security had been so tight.

Had the people been informed that there was a very real threat then the millions who came to mass at the luneta would still have come – armed with yantoks and dos-por-dos’s ready to face any threat to the late Pope – Ok it would have made people tense but sometimes – tension and alertness is a good thing.

I can understand when – like now – things are in flux because people are still searching – investigating – but considering how many emails, text messages, and terror advisories, and columns have been written on this specific date – and topic. I did expect more than silence and little more than a message to ‘ignore’ the texts and emails.

This would be a good time to show how many of these events have been foiled stopped and prevented. Another classic case -I remember was how the pnp and afp successfully stopped a car bomb plot in Quiapo when they were able to get information in Talavera, Nueva Ecjia as the vehicles were constructed.

claymore mines were recovered and other explosives – the three vehicles were being built in times for a major religious festival – the attack was foiled more than three years ago – the people who ordered the car modifications to put bombs in side panels were caught. Now – almost four years since – little is talked about this incident. Then there were the 80 bombs – 80! ready for use that were intercepted – the RPG’s recovered – all the other events that have been successfully stopped.

I do believe considering the bad press the PNP got the other day when several of its men where arrested in a drug ‘hulidap’ bust. That those events like the Talavera prevention ought to be played up – shown to people and to reward those investigators and officials who did their job and saved lives. Silence of a night with nothing going boom is indeed golden and somehow I have a feeling more is being done than said. to those who do the good job and keep as us all safe – good work tonight- even if I err on the side of praising people for a non-event like tonight. Thanks for all the good work so far… keep it up.



Entry filed under: abu sayyaf, al qaeda, Democrats, fil-am, Filipino, filipino-american, freedom of speech, Jemaah Islamiah, JI, news, News and politics, News Of China, philippines, terrorism, war on terror.

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