GOING TO THE AIRPORT VIA TAXI:
For your own protection you might do as the locals do. Before they get in a taxi locals will text a friend or relative the license number of the taxi.
If you use a Manila taxi to go to the airport insist that the driver turn on the meter or you will report him to the LTO (Land Transportation Office) . (And please do so by clicking on that website's "Contact US" link!). Fares are NOT to be negociated and the drivers MUST use the meter. In spite of the driver's claims you do NOT have to pay extra for baggage NOR do you have to pay the meter price for each passenger NOR do you have to pay extra for heavy "trapic" (Malay languages use the p instead of an f). The cost is for the ride, no matter how many are in the group. And of course always have small bills and coins on hand because the driver will tell you he has no change for a large bill (Don't ask him on entering the cab if he has change because he will lie to you and say yes, then on arrival at your destination he will say he has no change). If possible it's best to keep your baggage inside the car with you; that way, if you see the driver meandering to increase the meter amount or if he enters a dangerous area, you can open the door and get out immediately. If your bags are in the trunk you'll be an easy victim because you'll be tied to the taxi until he stops. Useful phrases to express your outrage are "Aso ka!" (you dog!) and "Walang hiya ka!" (you are shameless!). Bear in mind that some taxi drivers will scream at passengers as a form of intimidation to pay more than the meter amount. That in itself is a violation and you can report him for abusive language.
If you report a taxi driver he will have to attend a hearing at LTO and risks paying a heavy fine and possible suspension of his license for a time. See the news item below about the taxi driver who took his foreign guests to the airport and drove off with their luggage. If a taxi driver has violated any of the norms of decency and / or the law, do NOT pay him. Instead take note of the meter amount and include it in your email report to LTO. Be as complete as possible and try get the name of the taxi company (painted on the doors) as well as the license plate. If LTO has only the plate number the driver can attempt to say you made a mistake. Include the date, time of day, where you boarded the taxi and where you got out, the meter amount, and all other pertinent details including your name and address (even if it's out of the country).
The above behavior falls within the category of petty annoyances and they happen ALL the time. While less frequent, there are violent robberies as well. Some gangs enter taxis waiting at stop lights and rob the passengers. They may pretend to rob the driver as well but he is in fact part of the scheme (he in fact probably sent a text message to them to say where he could be intercepted) and he will get his share of the loot. Manila taxi drivers are not to be trusted! (see some recent news reports below!) You must protect yourself every way possible: Don't hail a taxi on the street but instead have your hotel call one for you; then have the desk clerk or doorman take note of the cab's plate and name on the door (each taxi has a unique name painted on the side). And of course lock all doors when riding a taxi!
LEAVING THE AIRPORT VIA TAXI:
This is a bit safer because there are dispatchers who give you a slip of paper with the taxi's license plate on it. You do have to pay a higher meter fee for using airport taxis but they are probably worth the cost in terms of safety. Even so, immediately text a friend or relative the taxi's plate number that appears on the dispatcher's note (you might even look at the plate just to be sure he wrote it correctly!). Even so, robberies of passengers who just arrived from overseas do happen. If you travel with expensive-looking luggage and jewelry somebody will take notice.
Cabbie runs off with tourists' luggage at NAIA
By Perseus Echeminada The Philippine Star June 06, 2012
MANILA, Philippines - Two tourists lost their luggage, as well as their passports and plane tickets, when the driver of a taxi that had brought them to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) ran off with their possessions Monday night, police said yesterday.
Robin Hugh Kimpton, 67, of New Zealand and Ester Jana, 35, of Papua New Guinea boarded a Modern Chariot taxi (UVD-772) from Malate, Manila to NAIA.
Upon arriving at the airport, the taxi driver – who remains unidentified – waited for the tourists to get out of the cab, then sped off with the luggage still in the vehicle’s trunk.
The tourists lost P100,000, their laptop computers, cameras and cell phones.
Pasay police officers are tracking down the taxi driver.
'Enrile grandson' robbed by cabbie
By Reinir Padua The Philippine Star November 08, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - A man who was robbed by a taxi driver along EDSA yesterday morning told police he was a grandson of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Achilles Ponce Enrile, 32, a call center supervisor residing in Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City, lost his iPad, BlackBerry phone, platinum ring, and wallet containing P4,700 in cash, his ATM and credit cards, identification cards, and driver’s and firearm licenses.
The victim said he had just come from work and hailed a Romeo Taxi cab in Mandaluyong at around 8 a.m. and asked to be brought to Caloocan, where he was supposed to meet his girlfriend. He said he fell asleep and the cabbie woke him up near North EDSA, pointing a gun at him.
After the heist, Enrile said the cabbie left him on the road and sped off. The victim eventually found policemen at the nearby corner of EDSA and West Avenue and asked for help.
Police said the taxi was a white Toyota Vios. The victim said the plate number may be TXB-143 or TXB-148.
Cabbie robs, molests 2 teen passengers
By Sandy Araneta The Philippine Star November 04, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - A taxi driver was arrested for bringing two teenage girls who boarded his taxi to a motel in Sta. Mesa, Manila, where he molested and robbed them, officials said yesterday.
Benjamin Hubaran Agustin Jr., 34, was presented by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim during a press conference yesterday after his victims, aged 14 and 16, identified him. He has been charged with acts of lasciviousness and robbery.
The girls told Lim that on Oct. 31, they were walking home from Escolta when Agustin offered to bring them home to Tondo. However, Agustin reportedly drove around until he reached Queensland Motel in Sta. Mesa, where he was refused entry because the girls were minors.
Agustin then brought them to Giliw Motel, also in Sta. Mesa, where he was allowed to check in with the girls. In the motel room, the suspect undressed and ordered the girls to undress, but they refused and started crying.
After 30 minutes, Agustin brought the girls out of the motel and drove them to Galas, Quezon City, where he took their P1,500. A Quezon City police patrol team spotted them and apprehended Agustin before he could drive away.
“I want to know if there are other cases where the suspect is involved. I am having investigators look into cases of taxi drivers who rob and rape female passengers, particularly at night,” Lim added.
Lim directed City Administrator Jesus Mari Marzan to check on the hotels reportedly admitting minors who are not accompanied by their parents or guardians.
Agustin has denied the allegations. He said he picked up the girls because he thought they were passengers and he brought them to a motel when they told him they were over 18 and wanted to “go on a gimmick.”
Cabbie slaps passenger for demanding receipt
By Perseus Echeminada (The Philippine Star) March 01, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - The Pasay City police is hunting down a taxi driver who allegedly slapped his passenger after she demanded a fare receipt for a ride from Paco, Manila to Pasay over the weekend.
Police Officer 2 Giovannie Arcinue said Teresa Tangco, a manager of a pawnshop, and her niece flagged down a “Marco Taxi” unit in Paco and asked the driver to proceed to Malibay in Pasay.
Upon reaching Malibay, Tangco and the driver argued over the fare, and when she asked for a receipt, the driver reportedly slapped her and grabbed the P400 she was holding.
“Anong resibo ang sinasabi mo (What receipt are you talking about)?” the driver said. Tangco was able to get a telephone number of the taxi firm, and police investigators are following up the case.
Chief Inspector Raymund Liguden, who heads the Pasay police’s criminal investigation division, warned commuters to be particularly careful when riding in taxis, particularly old and dilapidated units, as the driver could be a robber in disguise.
He said they are also working on another case involving a taxi driver who took away his passenger’s handbag. When investigators looked up the license plate number at the Land Transportation Office, they found the number belongs to a passenger bus.
NOTE: The following article appeared in the news in December of 2010 but the phone numbers in the article no longer work. This demonstrates two things: (1) the authorities are aware of the problem of abusive taxis but, (2) make only half-hearted attempts at curbing their abuses. If you need to report an abusive taxi driver use the LTO link shown above.
Abusive cabbies? Call DOTC hotline By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is urging commuters to report abusive taxi drivers by calling its “Oplan Isnabero” action center hotline, 7890, or sending a text message to cell phone number 0918-8848484.
“We have noted a rise in complaints against taxi drivers ranging from refusal of passengers and illegal contracting,” DOTC Undersecretary Dante Velasco said.
He said the reported incidents occurred in different shopping malls and other commercial areas in Metro Manila.
“They are supposed to take in passengers whatever their destination as long as it is in Metro Manila and even anywhere in Luzon,” Velasco said.
The complaints should indicate at least the plate number of the erring taxi cab, and the time and place of the incident.
“We guarantee that these taxi operators and the concerned driver is made to answer,” Velasco said.