MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has teamed up with the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to address the prevalence of cases involving taxi drivers “drugging” female passengers.
In a press release on Tuesday, October 22, LTFRB said the agency had been receiving from NCRPO reports of taxi drivers using a “special spray” that would make female passengers dizzy and numb.
Once the passengers are in that state, the taxi drivers rob or physically assault them.
A complaint received by NCRPO indicated that one female passenger almost passed out due to a strong gaseous odor, apparently from a solution sprayed by the driver inside the taxi. Her decision to ask the driver to pull over the nearest gas station saved her from falling prey to the cab driver.
Others have gone to social networking website Facebook to tell their accounts of the modus operandi, and how they escaped. There was even an incident where a “wet towel soaked in an unknown chemical solution” was placed directly over the cab’s air conditioning device to emit the strong odor. (READ: Reporting bad cab drivers? There’s an app for that)
LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said that the agency and NCRPO will invite taxi cab operators in a public hearing to discuss the situation.
“Kami po ay naaalarma sa maraming kaso ng pagtatangkang nakawan o kaya ay abusuhin ang mga pasaherong kababaihan ng ilang mga taxi drivers natin kaya naman ang Board ay magsasagawa ng isang special na pagpupulong upang maaksyunan agad ang sitwasyon na ito bago pa may mapahamak na pasahero,” Ginez said.
(We are alarmed by the many cases of attempted robbery or abuse of female passengers by some taxi drivers. Because of this, the LTFRB will be conducting a special hearing to immediately act on this situation before incidents like this could happen to more passengers.)
He also warned taxi operators involved in this modus operandi, saying that they will be penalized and may have their franchises suspended or cancelled.
In addition, the LTFRB is looking to revive its Oplan Isnabero campaign, in anticipation of the Christmas season, to punish taxi drivers who would be “choosy” in their passengers by declining to bring them to certain destinations.