December 30, 2000. It was a national day of mourning as we Filipinos celebrate the 104th year of Dr. Jose Rizal's execution at Luneta Park, as series of explosions simultaneously spread around Metro Manila. People are in fear because of this attack at that time, but it changed the country's security after 2 decades.
Bombs were detonated in different locations around the capital region:
1. The 1st explosion was at Plaza Ferguson near Nuestra Señora de Guia Parish in Malate, Manila. A hundred meters away from the U.S. Embassy.
2. The 2nd was in a gasoline station across Dusit Hotel along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue near the Central Business District of Makati.
3. The 3rd was at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in a cargo handling area.
4. The 4th was inside of a bus travelling along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, then exploded in Cubao, Quezon City.
5. The last explosion was inside of the Light Rail Transit (LRT-1) en route to Blumentritt station.
Who were the victims? 22 innocent lives were lost (2 Police Officers on the 2nd explosion and part of the Bomb Squad, 1 civilian on the 4th explosion, 19 from the last explosion) and a hundred suffered injuries.
Intelligence report says 3 groups were behind the bombing attacks: Jemaah Islamiyah, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). In 2002, Fathur Rahman Al-Ghozi from Indonesia, the bomb maker of the extremist group was arrested while on board a flight from Manila to Bangkok. Al-Ghozi pleads guilty of possession of explosives and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
A year later (2003), Saifullah Yunos (Mukhlis Yunos) was arrested while on boaring a flight to Manila and a few members of the Jemaah Islamiyah were arrested from the following years. The Indonesian extremist and other collaborators tried to escape at Camp Crame, Quezon City, but killed in the firefight on Octoher 13, 2003.
The other 2 groups (MILF & MNLF) were cleared with any involvement in the attacks by the intelligence community. Al-Ghozi provided 2 members of their group while in custody and alive at that time. Mamasao Naga (Zainal Paks), and Abdul Pata (Mohamad Amir) were arrested by the armed forces in Marawi, Lanao del Sur.
9 years later (January 23, 2009), all suspects involved on the 5 simultaneous bomb attacks around Metro Manila on Rizal Day found guilty, resulting to 20 years of imprisonment for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder.
How did it affect our security?
As police officers and our armed forces are working around the clock to make our cities, and streets safe. They're deployed everywhere from train stations, malls, parks, people where used to have a huge crowd and a potential target for terrorists. Scaring people around or making bomb jokes is a serious offense, you'll be refused from entering the premises or it could lead to imprisonment and a penalty. Prevent making these jokes or else, you'll suffer the consequences. Identification is also an issue, especially for our Muslim brothers and sisters. Implementation of the National Identification Card in the country could lead as offensive for Muslims since they have unique full names and possible targets. Everyone is not a terrorist, and these groups want to spread fear, and spread an idea. Equipment for our enlisted officers are now updated as of this day, starting from weapons, cameras, investment projects of building new counter-terrorism units. Our role as ordinary people to prevent this attacks, be vigilant if you see any suspicious activity, and let our forces do their job.