Taxicabs are everywhere. They're as much a part of our motoring culture as the jeepneys, the buses and the tricycles are. We use them when the car is out of commission. We use them when we're in a rush. We use them when we want a little more convenience than what the MRT provides. We use them when we're headed to a destination that is not located along the usual routes of regular public-utility vehicles. And we use them when we want a bit of privacy.
Lately, however, there has been a notable increase in incident reports--particularly on social media--about crimes committed by taxicab drivers either acting alone or aided by an accomplice. Facebook user Cynthia Jacinto-Bongolan is the latest person to share such an incident, involving her masseuse named Mila. Read below her narration of Mila's harrowing experience at the hands of a taxi driver and two sidekicks, and we guarantee you that you'll never look at taxicabs the same way again:
Mila, our long-time masahista, came from a client and rode a cab last Monday night at 10pm in the Ortigas area. The moment she settled in and after telling the driver where she was going, she heard the sound of a spray. At once she felt groggy. She barely heard the driver say that they were taking a detour because some roads were flooded. The driver then stopped at the corner of N. Domingo and another street where two men rode the cab.
Mila felt too weak to protest. One man had a gun, the other a knife. The one who sat beside Mila asked for her money while hitting her on the head with his fist, saying that they were in dire need. Mila pleaded and said that like them, she too was poor.
Disappointed that Mila only had P2,500 on her and that her mobile phone was inexpensive, the beatings increased. The man removed the battery of Mila's phone and crushed it. Thereafter, she was taken to an vacant lot in the Mandaluyong area.
Mila was pushed out of the car, and one man tried to strangle her with her bag. The other man grew impatient and shouted to just shoot Mila. Before the gun could be fired, one man said, "Pakinabangan ko muna yan," and pulled down his pants and underwear.
At that point, a security guard with a large flashlight appeared from a distance. Sensing a commotion, he trained his flashlight toward the half-undressed man. He hurriedly pulled up his bottoms, and they all scampered away. That was how Mila lived to tell her harrowing experience. Until now, Mila is traumatized. She can't sleep or eat, and she just cries and cries.
To be fair, many cab drivers are trustworthy. Like the rest of us, they're just trying to earn a living and put food on the table. But there are truly bad people out there who manage to put themselves in the driver's seat of a taxicab and pick up unsuspecting passengers.
And so, before boarding a cab from now on, remember these tips given by Cynthia Jacinto-Bongolan:
* Avoid riding taxicabs alone;
* Always take down the name of the taxi company and the plate number, and text these to another person;
* Call someone, within earshot of the driver, and give the same details to the person on the other line;
* If possible, do not hail a taxicab on the street; instead, call a taxi company and request for a cab
Image from Contec Electronics