On the day of her birthday, Olivia Fernandez drove to a nearby bakeshop along Bayan-bayanan Ave., Concepcion, Marikina. She was with her daughter Fiona, 3, and Fiona’s nanny. “After parking the car, I got off to buy a cake. I decided to leave Yaya and Fiona in the car since I wasn’t going to take long. Thing is, I forgot to lock the doors,” she recalls.
While inside the car, two decent-looking men approched the yaya and told her there were sparks coming from under the hood. “Yaya didn’t believe them since the car was just a few days old.” Suddenly, one guy opened the door and tried to snatch Fiona from her yaya, saying, “Delikado ang sasakyan niyo; ibaba mo ang bata.” Thinking about Fiona’s safety, her yaya refused to give the child to the men. When the strangers left, she immediately asked the delivery men nearby to call Olivia.
“When I got to the scene, everyone was telling me about these suspicious-looking guys. The delivery men told me that the guys threw coins at them, probably to distract them. Upon hearing Yaya’s account, I easily surmised that it was a modus operandi. I was so relieved that she refused to believe the men. Then I noticed that my bag, which I left on the passenger seat, was gone.”
One of the many Olivia is just one of the many victims of the Bukas Kotse Gang, one of the various scams that target mostly women. As moms, our children’s safety is our priority but if we ourselves are in danger, our children are compromised as well. “It was a good thing I brought my wallet with me. Inside my bag were my cell phone, a camera, our house keys, and a passbook which had our home address. That night, we changed our gate’s padlocks. The next day, we had all our door locks changed. I was just so thankful that my daughter was unharmed,” says Olivia. “Now I no longer leave anyone or anything valuable inside the car, even if it will only take me a minute to do an errand.”