MANILA — In response to criminal incidents involving public utility vehicles, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on Wednesday ordered the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to set up checkpoints for taxis and commuter vans traveling along major roads in Metro Manila.
This directive was prompted by reports of alleged attempts to abduct children on the streets by men in a white van. The owner of the “van-for-rent” linked to the alleged abduction has already surrendered the vehicle to the Manila Police District (MPD) but the suspects remain at large.
This is part of PNP’s intensified and relentless efforts to fight crime amid what Roxas called “normal course of business under unique circumstances,” referring to the recent suspension of PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima.
“The PNP is focused on fulfilling its duties and in responding to the challenge of anti-criminality,” said Roxas.
Police Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr. instructed officials of the PNP to inspect public vans and taxis in the morning, noon and afternoon to help ensure commuters’ safety, especially this holiday season.
The police has also acknowledged reports of unscrupulous taxi drivers who spray sleep-inducing chemicals to make female passengers drowsy, making it easier for them to get robbed or even abducted.
Garbo also instructed police officers to be courteous when approaching drivers as well as passengers to prevent unnecessary panic.
For his part, Regional Director of NCRPO Chief Supt. Carmelo Valmoria ordered all five District Directors of Metro Manila to conduct checkpoint operations and establish choke point at night in their area of responsibility to stop and prevent this kind of criminality.
Valmoria said that they are now closely monitoring all taxis in Metro Manila after expressed alarm over the series of taxi holdups wherein the taxi driver himself robbed his passenger or passengers.
The NCRPO Chief said aside from keeping a close watch on the riding-in tandem criminals, police have been alerted about the series of taxi holdups taking place lately.
Valmoria, asked the cooperation of the riding public and motorists, saying that he was pretty sure that the general public would not mind the check point since the same was being conducted to ensure their safety.
At the same time, he appealed to taxi riders and all the commuters in general to stay alert in commuting or taking a ride on public transportation such as bus, jeepneys and taxi or MRT and LRTs especially during the wee hours of the night wherein bad elements take advantage of the situation.
He also said that the riding public should not only keep an eye on snatchers, robbers, the so-called “ipit taxi” gang, but as well as the “Salisi” gang, “Siksik” gang, “Riles” gang, “Budol-budol” gang, Condo Criminal gang, Solicit Gang among others.
The NCRPO chief also urged the public to cooperate in the general Yuletide security plan by not giving criminal elements a chance to strike.
He said the public could just follow the security tips such as ensuring the safety of the house if the entire family will go on vacation, or to be simple when going out on the streets by not wearing unnecessary jewelry.