Bomb threats disrupt classes, work in different parts of Luzon

February 12, 2024 - 4:37 PM
DENR Central Office
Staff in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Central Office in Quezon City as authorities conduct an inspection regarding a bomb threat on Feb. 12, 2024 in this screengrab from a video credited to Merry Ann Bastasa of Radyo Pilipinas and posted by the PTV on Facebook (Radyo Pilipinas/Merry Ann Bastasa via PTVph/Facebook)

Bomb threats were reported in different parts of the country on Monday.

In Metro Manila, workers of the central office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City were sent home after the Environmental Management Bureau received an email about a bomb threat.

Several fire trucks were also deployed in the area.

The bomb threat was reported at 11:03 a.m.

By 12:15 p.m., the Bureau of Fire Protection declared that the threat had been cleared.

The Quezon City Police District also said it did not find any signs of a bomb or any improvised explosive device in the DENR Central Office.

The email came from a Japanese national who the QCPD tagged as the one responsible for the MRT-3 Kamuning Station bomb threat in September 2023.

A report said he was identified as “Takahiro Karasawa,” who introduced himself as a “Japanese lawyer” from the “Steadiness Law Office.”

“I set high-performance bombs in major Philippine government offices. Those bombs will explode at approximately 3:34 p.m. on February 12. Unlike previous bomb threats, it really explodes and many people die,” he supposedly wrote.

QCPD said the bomb threat in the DENR Central Office was a “false alarm” since their findings yielded a negative result.

Reports said the same email also threatened the Balanga City Schools Division Office in Bataan, prompting suspension of classes in public and private schools and office work in the province.

The Olongapo City in Zambales likewise suspended afternoon classes in public and private schools, as well as government office work, following the same email one of its offices has received.

Bomb-sniffing dogs were also spotted at a shopping mall in Subic on the same day.

The Science Heritage Building of the Department of Science and Technology in Taguig City additionally got a bomb threat. The buildings were later found to be negative of any explosive device.

DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. said the employees returned to the building after checking.

Senior history researcher Kristoffer Pasion additionally claimed that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines received a bomb threat through email.

Meanwhile, “Takahiro Karasawa” also made a bomb threat against the MRT-3, the train with the highest ridership in the metro, in September 2023.

The Manila International Airport Authority received an email from the same individual the following month.

In December 2023, the Philippine National Police flagged the circulating bomb threat emails from Karasawa as “fake.”

Karasawa’s name also were also reported in different countries.

In August 2023, South Korean authorities responded to an email bomb threat which they said claimed to target its Supreme Court. It was also from an individual calling himself “Takehiro Karasawa.”

The Korea Times quoted Karasawa at that time, who said his name was being used by “misused without permission” by bad actors.

“This is wrong. I think my name is being misused without my permission. Some extremists are committing these crimes, as these types of offenses are sometimes not regulated in Japan,” he was quoted in the report as saying.

In May 2023, an opinion piece by a civil servant in Taipei claimed that a Chinese student in Taiwan was responsible for sending out bomb threat emails under the identity of “Takehiro Karasawa.”