MANILA, Philippines -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has come up with a new crime-deterrent scheme in preparation for the expected rise in the number of petty crime cases this coming Holiday Season.
Dubbed as “Trip Tracker Project,” MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando said the new program aims to apprehend taxi drivers who connive with crime syndicates.
"We need to protect the commuters against crimes taking place inside public utility vehicles, particularly taxi cabs," Fernando said.
He added the new crime tack stemmed from the growing number of complaints by returning Overseas Filipino Workers, balikbayans, students and women against abusive cab drivers.
Aside from its Metrocall 136 hotline, the passengers can access the MMDA cellphone numbers 0917-5618709 and 0920-9472116 to send their text messages for complaints.
Passengers need to text the plate numbers and the name of the taxi as soon as they board the vehicle.
"This way, cab drivers will have second thoughts before perpetuating his malicious intent, if any," Fernando said.
This new measure gives the MMDA a way to build profiles and track the behavior of the drivers.
"Nowadays, the perception is that the taxis are no longer safe. Passengers are being robbed and taken advantage of. We really need to monitor so that the driver and the operators can be held liable in case something happen to their passengers," Fernando said.
He said passengers can report all cases of traffic violations, including refusal to convey passengers, discourteous drivers, defective taximeters, overcharging or asking additional cash other than the rate indicated on the taximeter.
The MMDA will be putting stickers bearing the hotline numbers inside the taxi cabs and other public utility vehicles such as buses, jeeps and tricycles. It will also be posting more stickers at taxi stands, waiting sheds, shopping malls and other public places to aptly inform the public.
Mila Silvestre of the MMDA Communications and Monitoring Center said they have set up a system where text messages sent by the passengers are automatically transmitted to the computer for segregation and processing by MMDA personnel.
These computers are interconnected with the Philippine National Police and Land Transportation Office, she said.
Silvestre said disposition of proper action will depend upon the complaint to be forwarded by the passengers.
"If it involves the commission of crimes, we will coordinate it with the PNP and if it is traffic related, we can coordinate it with the Traffic Operations Center or the LTO, for proper action," she said.
The system also provides information to drivers who want to verify if they have outstanding traffic violations with MMDA.