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A photo of an alleged suicide bomber at a Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) train station, which has since been dispelled by management, continues to make the rounds on social media, causing alarm among netizens.
On Jan. 22, a Facebook (FB) user uploaded a photo of a man with a bomb taped to his back, surrounded by what appear to be police officers. He wrote a warning in his caption saying, "be aware po may mga suicide bomber na po sa metro manila nahuli po yan sa MRT (Be aware that there are now suicide bombers in Metro Manila, this one was apprehended at MRT)."
The image was shared from Jan. 22 to 23 by at least 13 other FB users and pages making the same false claim, with some saying the "bomber" was caught at MRT-3’s Taft station.
The event captured on photo is not an actual suicide bombing attempt. Less than two hours after the false posts began making the rounds on the Web, MRT-3 management released a statement on its official FB page saying it was a "penetration test" done at Cubao station on Jan. 21. The activity was done to test the "alertness" and "security capacity" of a place, said MRT-3 management further.
The earliest traceable copy of the photo was an upload of a netizen at 1:36 p.m. on Jan. 22, which features a screengrab of another person's post claiming there was a suicide bomber at Taft avenue station. The original post appears to have been taken down or made private.
The false FB posts surfaced less than a week after a male passenger carrying various types of high-calibre guns was apprehended on Jan. 16 by the security personnel of MRT Taft station in Pasay City. Following the incident, MRT said they will continue to “implement stricter security measures" within their premises and called for vigilance among their passengers against any suspicious activities or persons inside their stations or trains.
The netizen’s post has been shared 959 times.