By Karen Lema and Mijaíl Flores
MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines has put all its commercial airports on high alert after an anonymous warning that bombs could explode on planes leaving Manila, including to several tourist spots, its civil aviation authority said on Friday.
“Immediately enhanced security measures” were being implemented at 42 commercial airports across the country, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said in a media advisory, adding that the warnings were being verified.
The warning was emailed to air traffic services about a threat to flights leaving the capital Manila bound for Davao, Bicol and the popular tourist regions of Palawan and Cebu.
“While the information is currently under validation, enhanced security measures are being implemented immediately at all airports,” CAAP said.
The CAAP did not say when the warning was given.
On Friday, the aviation regulator released to the media an Oct. 4 memo on the order given to airport security managers to tighten security, thoroughly inspect baggage and conduct round-the-clock surveillance after receiving the email threat.
The Oct. 4 memo included a screenshot of what it said was the threat, which did not contain the word “bomb” but said “a plane will explode” today at Manila International Airport and “please be careful.” .
“Cebu, Palawan, Bicol and Davao will also be affected,” the anonymous email said.
A Philippine Airlines source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the flag carrier was operating “as usual.”
A Cebu Pacific Air spokesperson said the airline was “following normal protocols.”
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said patrols had been increased and K9 units had been deployed at all terminals at Manila International Airport, and that law enforcement agencies were coordinating closely.
“No impact is expected on any scheduled flights and we would like to assure the traveling public that protocols are in place to ensure everyone’s safety,” Bautista said in a statement.
(Reporting by Karen Lema and Mikhail Flores; writing by Martin Petty; editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)