Bag of garbage sets off Virac bomb scare
posted 24-Nov-2019  ·  
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EOD PERSONNEL. prepare to blow up suspected im-provised explosive.

Traffic was shut down for five hours along a stretch of the highway in Virac last Saturday afternoon as a black bag left at the roadside caused a bomb scare.

According to the town police, it received a cellphone call at 11:41 A.M. of Oct. 26, 2019, with the caller reporting to have seen the suspicious black bag abandoned beside a concrete fence along the national road at San Isidro Village in front of the Tablizo compound.

A team led by the acting chief of police, Maj. Bon Billy Timuat, responded to the info and went to the site to verify the report. They learned that the bag was left there by unidentified persons or person about five hours earlier.

The team immediately contained the area by barricading the road and rerouting traffic, causing chaos among motorists. Vehicles from San Andres were ordered to turn around near the Camp Camacho area as the police did not install a checkpoint at the Moonwalk junction to inform motorists.

Residents of houses near the area were also told to stay inside, preventing some of them who had business elsewhere to go out of their homes. Those who were going home were advised not to venture into the area.

The Virac police coordinated with the Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) team, the 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) and other concerned agencies, and then established an Incident Command Post with Timuat as incident commander.

A few minutes later, the K-9 Unit of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Virac Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) also checked in at the command post to render assistance, while an additional EOD Team arrived at 2:30 P.M.

Although an initial “paneling” by the PCG K9 Unit resulted in the high probability that the package was not an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), incident commander Major Timuat, with the assistance of EOD and the team, did not take the risk of moving the bag due to the non-availability of a bomb suit in the province.

The bomb suit, otherwise known as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) suit, is a heavy suit of body armor designed to withstand the pressure generated by a bomb and any fragments and is usually worn by trained personnel attempting bomb disposal.

Police said the EOD team then implemented the Render Safe Procedure before blasting the bag in place at 4:20 P.M.

According to a police officer, the exploding bag showered the immediate area with garbage, its apparent content.

Relieved, the EOD team cleared the area and declared it safe, with no evidence of an explosive.

The police said no one was hurt during the incident and no damage to property was incurred, with the alert lifted at around 4:45 P.M.

Affected residents and motorists, however, scored the Virac police and the other law enforcement agencies for taking a long time to discover that the bag did not contain an IED.

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