Prank calls plague Hotline 117

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2011 08:59 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2011 10:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Almost all phone calls received by the government’s Hotline 117 are prank calls, authorities said Thursday.

The Department of Interior and Local Government’s service, which is patterned after the United States’ 911 system, receives 13,000 calls a day.

However, only 2% of the calls are made by those in need, according to Senior Superintendent Benjie Magalong of the Philippine National Police’s Directorate for Police Community Relations.

He said the prank calls include bomb threats.

“A lot of these are prank calls. Masabi ko nga sa inyo, every, every call has to be validated. We have to take it seriously,” Magalong said.

He issued the statement following the bus bombing along EDSA in Makati City last Tuesday and a mysterious package found inside another passenger bus in the city on Thursday.

Following the bus explosion, bomb threats were made to people in a building along Roxas Boulevard, the Parañaque City Hall,  the Marikina Justice Hall, and Lyceum Law School in Makati.

The threats turned out to be false.

Police said people who receive such threats should be calm and should not panic.

Authorities, however, added that people should still take them seriously and call authorities.

Malacañang, meanwhile, lashed out at people making the bomb threats.

"It's very unpatriotic for those who sow fear and spread his hoax at this time. We assure the public that we have instituted strict security measures," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a text message to ABS-CBN News. – Report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News