For many in the Philippines, commuting is a part of everyday life. In fact, you may have gotten so used to commuting that there are times when you've become lax and think that there's no need to be vigilant. Think again. Crooks these days have become more brazen and craftier with how they commit crimes, so it pays to be up-to-date with their modus operandi. Read this, keep safe and share with your loved ones!
1. Spray modus
More often than not, victims of this m.o. are women who ride alone during night time. A woman catches a ride, and later on may notice the taxi driver waving a cloth or spraying something towards the air conditioning vents. She then begins to feel dizzy and if unaware of what is going on, may pass out and leave herself vulnerable to being held-up or even worse, raped.
If you find yourself in said situation, firmly tell the taxi driver to let you out. Mention that you’ve sent the vehicles plate number to several individuals and do whatever you can to open a window or the door. If you feel that it is necessary to break open the window to get the attention of other vehicles or pedestrians, then by all means, go ahead.
2. Ipit taxi
There are two ways criminals go about this, a passenger can board the taxi in a fairly deserted place and suddenly be squished into the middle seat by two other individuals armed with either a gun or a knife. Or, the taxi who's in cahoots with the thieves will drive around, and then pick up his partners-in-crime who will then proceed to rob the victim.
With this m.o., it may be best to cooperate with the thieves and to hand over your valuables. All the while, keep calm and try to take note of distinctive body marks, be it a mole, tattoo or scar. If lucky enough to be dropped off somewhere, proceed to the nearest establishment filled with people and ask for help.
3. Walang sukli
When commuting, it’s best that you make sure that you have small bills. One thing that people often complain about are taxi drivers who claim that they do not have change to give to their customers. This was learned the hard way by Facebook user, Lei Yamaguchi who was verbally assaulted by the driver when she demanded that he give her her change. The best way to deal with such a situation is to prevent it from happening in the first place, arm yourself with a little coin purse full of coins or small bills that you can easily pull out when paying for public transportation.
4. Kontrata system
Never climb aboard a taxi that refuses to make use of its meter. There’s a reason why it’s there and it isn’t for decorative purposes. Last May 2014, the LTO caught several taxi drivers in front of NAIA cheating their passengers and forcing them to pay a predetermined fare. The taxi drivers were made to pay a fine of P1,700 and were warned that they would lose their license if caught again.
5. Batang Hamog
According to local taxi service, grabtaxi.com, criminals who use this modus operandi usually operate along C5 or EDSA-Guadalupe. Street kids attack cars that are stuck in traffic during rush hour. They will randomly open cab doors then grab anything they can from the passenger. The passenger, usually caught in surprise, only has a few seconds to process the situation and respond accordingly.
Click Next Page for safety tips courtesy of the Philippine National Police.
When taking public transportation, keep safe and keep vigilant. In fact, take note of these safety tips taken from the official Facebook account of the Philippine National Police:
- Always consider doubts/gut feel when riding a taxi.
- Always check the taxi first and make sure no one is hiding on the floor or between the seats.
- Sit on the backseat and keep a distance from the driver.
- Check if the doors can be locked from the inside.
- Memorize the plate number and name of the driver. You can text or call a friend or relative and let the driver know that you are taking note of his plate number.
- Insist that the driver use the regular or usual route you take towards your destination.
- Report any defective plate or meter and driver’s discourtesy to the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB):
0921-448-777 and 426-2515 (the LTFRB can alert other commuters of any new modus operandi of drivers after receiving reports from some victims.)
How to detect “batingting” taxis
- Tampered or missing meter seal.
- Meter only displays fare and not the distance and waiting time (if present).
- Taxi name, plate number and operator contact number are erased or missing in the interiors of the vehicle.
- Driver is clicking a switch hidden somewhere.
- Driver would not usually argue/complain if you pay the usual fare since they know they’re equipped with a faster-than-a-speeding bullet meter.
What to do if confronted with such a situation?
- Always take note of the taxi name, operator phone numbers, plate number and if possible, take note of the taxi driver’s name and face. It is recommended that you send these information to a friend or relative.
- Ask the driver to use the meter. If they say that the meter isn’t working or offer any other excuse, don’t get in the cab. If you’re already inside, ask the driver to stop and get out of the vehicle.
- Make sure to check the meter. Some “batingting” drivers intentionally hold the stick shift in order to block the meter’s line of view.
- Some drivers tend to keep a minimum speed even when in high-speed areas. This is because the moment they get too fast, the increments will happen at an incredible rate and the meter will show that it is obviously tampered.
- If any time you notice that the meter is going too fast, tell the driver to stop and get off the taxi.
- Report the taxi with defective meter to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board by texting the taxi’s name and plate number to 0921-448-7777 or call 426-2515.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Raisa Tan
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