The President's Corner
As the month of August is already here, the Yuletide Season is just around the corner and it will be another period of shopping, eating, drinking and also of criminality. The recent rash of SUV carjackings have made most of our friends to carry their FAs cocked and locked. I would like to remind that carrying our FAs in that state requires utmost safety specially if we have our love ones inside the vehicle. My friends in the PNP were very generous with their advice regarding the modus operandi of the "Bundol Gang" which has operated extensively in the NAIA area by tailing their targets and when they reach a isolated portion of the metropolis will bump their target's vehicle on the rear in order to force the driver or any of its occupant to stop and go down. After they have achieved their purpose, they will poke their unlicensed firearms against the driver and the occupant (usually the husband or the father) and annouce their ultimate aim which is robbery and carjacking. The following is the suggested course of action:
a.Before making the trip to the airport, inform your companions about the m.o. of the bundol gang. Assign one companion who will be on the constant watch for vehicles who might be tailing you. A tail usually stays two or three vehicles from their target vehicle, if one is noticed, the whole group should be warned.
b. Take down the plate number of the suspected tail immediately and keep it.
c. If the tail bumps your vehicle, do not stop,drive fast but safely to the nearest police station and report the incident.Never mind of the damage, your insurance will take care it for you. What is important that all of you are safe and your belongings intact.
d.If the bumping happened in a traffic stop and the carjacker have alighted with their arms drawn, tell your companions to duck and lock their doors. If armed, be sure you are aware of your chances to shoot it out with them, if not, do not attempt to do it with a half-heart. If you have the tactical advantage, execute your plan without any after thoughts but be aware of collateral damage specially in places where there are both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Remember the assassination attempt against Atty. Rafaelito Garayblas (a close associate and once Secretary to Mayor Alfredo Lim)? It was foiled by the alertness and the determination of one of his son who happens to be a shooter. It happened along Quezon Avenue near the Welcome Rotunda.
e.If you will engage it will be close quarters meaning the distance between you and your adversaries will not be more than five meters and it will be over in seconds. Determination really counts.
Another modus operandi of these malefactors is to wait and standby your gates and at gasoline stations.
When about to go home, intruct your driver (unless he is one of the bad guys) to be always alert and maintain a high level of awareness of your surroundings. Always have another household open the gate and if there is a need to wait for it to be opened instruct your driver to always park your car in such a way it can always speed away if a threat is detected. Never make it a practice to place your car or vehicle infront of the gate when waiting for it to be opened by doing so, you will lose your ability to make it a tactical maneuver to evade the carjackers.
Also make a predetermined horn signals with your household, (example three long blasts would mean an emergency and assistance is needed, four short blasts would mean that there is danger and the door should be closed immediately) if these signals are heard they should be prepared to immediately close the gate, lock it and call the authorities. After speeding away, proceed to the nearest police station. It is always better to take down the plate number of the other vehicle if its possible.
When getting fuel for your vehicles, always choose the well lit gasoline stations. Always gas up in the bay which is not crowded and check the persons in the area. Big service stations always have uniformed employees and if there are others who are loitering around the bay areas or near the gasoline pumps, be aware, if possible call the attention of the security guards.It is suggested that drivers should alight when the vehicle is being filled up with the engine off and the keys left on the ignition. In case of a carjacking, the other passengers can lock the doors of the vehicle and if possible leave the area.The driver can be always be picked up later. If alone, alight but take the keys with you. Check your surroundings before going inside your vehicle, do not forget to check the rear if there is any unwanted occupant inside.If in case you are placed in a situation that you will engage the malefactors, bear in mind that your bullets will not cause the gasoline station to blow up (except if you are using tracer ammunitions) What makes gasoline burn is open flame, so do not worry if in case of a shoot out you will blow up the whole service station, it only happens in the movies.
Always be aware of scooters that snake their way left and right through traffic specially those riders who are in tandem, one of them is armed with a revolver or pistol. Try to maintain a safe distance from them. Do not engage them in a race, chances are they will always catch up with you. You must outwit them by, for example, proceeding to the nearest police station or park your vehicle to the nearest mall where you can ask for assistance from the security guards (specially ayala mall guards are trained to engage person who will attempt to cause harm to the malls and their patrons) If you are already sure that their intentions is not good such as when one of them has already drawn his firearm, have the presence of mind to think that it will be very difficult to shoot you while in motion even if the malefactor was using his strong arm. Unless he or she is a trained operative of any government or terrorist organization but such kind of mounted shooting only happens in the movies. You may want to swerve left and right in order to deflect them specially if you are already sandwiched. Remember the maneuver by the TMG whenever they want to clear some space for their v.i.p.s? That can be done even if you are driving a big SUV and will scare any experience scooter or motorcycle operator for that matter. After any encounter, always report it to the nearest police station in the area. Keep a pen and a paper always handy inside your vehicles for the plate numbers.
Always review your route. The more the traffic stops the more chances of a possible car jacking and besides, the longer the trip will be due to delays.
Check the size of the road. A tactical maneuver would be difficult if the street is only a two lane two way street, specially if you are driving a big SUV. Its impossible in one lane one way streets.
Take note of the residents along the route. Those with informal settlers would usually be a problem. Looting always occurs in this kind of neighborhood.
Change your route everyday. Be aware of the places where you can instantly seek refuge if the need arises such as malls and supermarkets. Teach your drivers to identify tails and how to lose them or to make them pag-pag.
If possible use a different vehicle to and from your place of work.
Keep a cellphone handy with stored dedicated numbers so that in case of emergency, there is no need to dial all eleven or seven numbers.A single number will do.
I do not claim any expertise in this field. I am just sharing with you what I learned from my friends from the law enforcement community. Draw your own plans and strategies with your loved ones and practice it with them. Practice always make perfect. Use of firearms should be done as a last resort and use it judiciously and prudently. Take note of the people and vehicles around you.