PUP President defends decision to suspend classes over radiation text message hoax

Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) President Dante Guevarra defended the school’s decision to suspend classes yesterday following the spread of text messages warning the public against supposed acid rain and radiation leak from Japan.

He told ANC that they were "skeptical" about the messages but parents and guardians kept calling them, appealing for the school to send the students home. He said they did not verify the text messages first, preferring to err on the side of caution.

"PUP is very adjacent to the oil depot in Pandacan. Once in a while, (a foul smell comes) from this oil depot. Kung mapasabay ito, itong foul smell eh baka lalong mag-panic ang mga estudyante namin. Mas malaking problema ’yon, magtatakbuhan sila," he said. ("If the depot emitted a foul smell yesterday, our students might have panicked more. That would’ve been a bigger problem; they would’ve run off.")

Guevarra told ANC, "It (was) safer to send them home rather than have people panicking."

Yesterday, rumors circulated via text message and social networking sites that the Japan nuclear blast on Saturday will cause acid rain in the Philippines. The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Health, and Philippine Nuclear Research Institute debunked the rumors.

For more on this story, log on to ABS-CBN News.

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