MRT explains tighter security measures due to bomb threat received before Jolo blasts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 8) — Metro Manila Rail System (MRT) officials said they issued tighter security measures in their train stations because they received a bomb threat weeks before the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu in January. 

An MRT Media relations officer told CNN Philippines that they received a bomb threat through e-mail on January 3 and coordinated immediately with the police. 

This, they said is the reason behind the decision of transportation authorities to tighten security in MRT and Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines, including a ban on liquids such as bottled drinks and perfumes.

"That's one reason kung bakit po kami naghihigpit ng seguridad [why we tightened security] following recent attacks in Mindanao. We just wanted to be cautious, since we have thousands of passengers daily," the officer said. 

Only bottled baby formula, breast milk, medication, liquids used to augment the body for medical and cosmetic reasons and liquids for the needs of children and people with disabilities are allowed on the trains. Otherwise, the liquids will be confiscated by security personal during inspection. 

The officer said they will await the advice of the Philippine National Police on when they can lift the new security measures for the riding public. 

The twin blasts that rocked a cathedral in Jolo killed at least 22 people, and injured more than 90 others. Authorities recently apprehended the suspects behind the attack, who were members of a local terrorist group.