An Open Letter to the Police Chief of Davao City

18 February 2017

Dear Col. Dubria,

I am writing to relay to you a public safety concern brought to my attention yesterday.

One of our graduate interns, Ms. _________ hailed a white taxi outside Damosa at around 8:30am yesterday and instructed the driver to bring her to the Ateneo Roxas gate. She had a stuffy nose and it was some time before she registered a strong repulsive smell permeating the inside of the cab. She then noticed that the driver had on a surgical mask. In her growing alarm, she noted that there was no driver’s ID visible anywhere inside the cab and that there were no markings on the inside of the doors for the operator’s phone number and the taxi number. Ms. __________ said that the cab was going very slow and that she was further alarmed to note that the driver had made a detour along a deserted side street off Cabaguio. She texted a friend to say that the taxi she was riding had taken her among the warehouses in Cabaguio. By then, Ms. __________ was starting to feel numbness around her nose and mouth and was already feeling a bit dizzy, but she desperately fought it off.

Luckily, she spied a Massey warehouse with some activity and insisted for the driver to let her off, which he did. The Massey security guards responded to her plea for help by getting her to sit down to catch her breath and clear her head. They also hailed a taxi later to get her to our event at school.  Unfortunately, the taxi that dropped her off had already left before she was able to confide her concerns to the guards. They were not able to get the license plate.

Ms. __________ arrived around 9:30am, still very shaken. She was very pale and trembling from her ordeal, although she refused to be seen by our clinic personnel. We only ran her by some crisis debriefing and sat with her until she was able to release some of the terror she felt.

At dinner, she was able to tell the 10ID’s Assistant Division Commander about her experience and he counseled us to bring this concern to your attention.

I am very sorry that we cannot provide any further details that would allow our police to take action to address the undue distress caused on Ms. _______. I hope however that you will use this information to prime our traffic officers on the presence of what could be a bogus taxi unit driven by a man in surgical mask who seems to have a preference for a slow, stinky ride along the obscure back roads of the city. In the interest of public safety, I am asking for an alert to be sent out to keep our police and the public vigilant.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,