New modus in NAIA exposed, passengers warned of “bayad-cellphone” modus of airport taxis

The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board(LTFRB) has issued a warning to the public of the new modus in NAIA called “bayad-cellphone” modus preying on taxi passengers short on cash.

taxi driver of bayad-cellphone modus in NAIA

So far, the office of the LTFRB received two complaints from passengers regarding the said modus.

The scam involved forcing the passenger to pay the remaining balance of the taxi fare when they are short on cash.

According to the account of the victim identified as Mark Kevin Tomale, 19 years old, a barker approached and contracted him for the Buendia taxi ride for 30 pesos per kilometer.

The victim thinking the deal is cheap and based on his calculation, he will only P300 pesos for the 10 kilometer ride and took the offer.

The complainant told Emil Sumangil of 24 Oras, that the driver quickly changed the handshake agreement and asked them to pay P1980 pesos.

Sinisingil na po kami ng 1980 pesos. Kaya ganun po ang kanyang sinisingil, ang nangyari kasi, imbes sa 30 pesos tinayms, sa 300 niya po inano. So yun na po naisip ko na modus na to. (He asked me to pay 1980 pesos. Why he asked me and my companion with that kind of fare, what happened was, instead of multiplying it by 30 pesos, he calculated it using 300 pesos. From there, I realized this is a scam/modus.)

When they complained about the exorbitant fare, an argument followed. The taxi driver at one point raised his voice which frightened her pregnant companion.

Nagtataas na po sya ng boses, syempre buntis yung kasama ko, natakot na rin po kami kaya naglabas kami ng pera. Nagbigay kami 1400 pesos. ( He raised his voice. Of course my companion is pregnant so we were scared so, shelled out 1400 pesos.)

At this point, the driver refused to accept the money.

Sabi kuhanin na lang ang cellphone, so syempre buntis po yun eh, natakot na po yung babae, kasama ko buntis po yun eh, binigay na lang po niya. (The taxi driver told us the cellphone would do. My companion who is pregnant and already scared, she surrendered her phone.

According to LTFRB Board Member Atty. Ariel Inton, what the taxi driver did is not right.

Una, hindi tama na mangontrata sya ng per kilometer, trenta pesos gamitin nya ang metro. Pangalawa, hindi dpat na mag-overcharge sya. Airport hanggang Buendia, 1800 pesos? Ano sya helicopter? Parang hinoldap nya ang bata eh. (First, it is not correct to charge passengers 30 pesos per kilometer. He should use the meter. Second, overcharging passengers is wrong. From the airport to Buendia for 1800 pesos? Is he providing a helicopter service? It appears he rob the young man.)

In another instance, a female complainant identified as Gretchen Pugales was victimized by the same modus. In her case, she was contracted to pay 10 pesos per kilometer from NAIA to Paranaque. But when she arrived at her destination, she was told to pay more or less 2000 pesos.

Bakit ganyan po kalaki? Sabi ko. Mura na nga yan eh papunta dito mga 300 lang yun pagmemetro. (How come the fare is so expensive? I asked. Going here 300 pesos is the usual fare if using the meter.)

The female complainant decried she was helpless and could not get out because the taxi was in a child lock.

Naka-child lock pa yung pintuan. Kasi pwede naman yun pindutin sa gilid eh. Naka-child lock eh. Di ako makababa. (The door was in a childlock. I could have opened it from where I was sitting. It was on a child lock. I could not disembark.)

The LTFRB has already conducted an investigation and the barker and the authorized driver accused of contracting passengers was identified as Jeric Cullano Rosalejos. Meanwhile, the driver who took the cellphone of the passengers has yet to be identified.

The taxi operator, Merely Fukuta told Emil Sumangil she already talked to the driver regarding the complaint. The driver denied the accusation leveled against him.

Ang sabi nung driver, di ko po ginawa yun. (The driver denied the allegation.)

According to Emil Sumangil of GMA News, the driver failed to show up for the hearing set by the LTFRB. The LTFRB revealed, the operator could be liable for negligence.

The taxi operator Merely Fukuta admitted she has learned her lesson now.

May ano ako eh parang lesson, na kailangan yung mga driver bago tanggapin busisihuin yung mga ano nila mga requirement at saka background. (I have learned my lesson now that I need to check the requirements of the drivers carefully especially their backgrounds.

With that being said, the LTFRB reminds the taxi drivers who have developed the habit of contracting passengers that this is illegal and instead use their taxi meters.

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