obvious tips to remember when commuting in AKL

a picture of Blessie Gotingco.  thanks to tv3.co.nz for the pic!

a picture of Blessie Gotingco. thanks to tv3.co.nz for the pic!

BY NOW, everyone in the Auckland (New Zealand) Pinoy community will have heard and in their own way, done something about the suspected abduction of kabayan Blessie Gotingco in the North Shore City suburb of Auckland region.

Just in case you haven’t, here is a repost, with thanks and acknowledgment to tvnz.co.nz :

Police have serious concerns for the safety of a 56 year-old woman who failed to arrive home after leaving her job in Auckland’s CBD last night.

The Philippines-born woman works in Fanshawe St and spoke to her son at 6.21pm to say she was leaving work at about 7 and would catch a bus home.

Blesilda (also known as Blessie) Gotingco’s mobile phone was found, along with her shoes which police have said were “in a state of disarray”, a short distance from the bus stop near her home in Birkdale.

Blesilda’s daughter tracked the mobile phone via its inbuilt locater system.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stan Brown says the circumstances of Blessie Gotingco’s disappearance and the location of some of her belongings give rise to serious concerns for her safety.

“It’s the fear of the unknown…it may have been a tragic accident…she may have been knocked down by a motorist going too fast or something more sinister…we don’t know.”

Police have searched the immediate area and say there are no visible signs of a struggle or any violence. They have talked to neighbours and are trying to establish if Blesilda actually caught the bus.

“We want to hear from passengers who travelled on those buses – either a number 973 or a 974 bus – last night, at any point along its route from Fanshawe St to Birkdale Road.”

A free phone number has been set up for people to call who might have information that could assist police to find Blessie. It is 0508 LYNSEY or 0508 596 739.

Meanwhile the missing woman’s husband is trying to get back to New Zealand from the Philippines to be with his family.

Here are a few obvious points we picked up as an Auckland commuter:

Auckland, particularly North Shore City, is a relatively peaceful place, certainly by Philippine standards.  But when darkness arrives anything can happen.  Prudence and safety first are good things to practice and remember.

Bus stops are generally user-friendly places EXCEPT on Friday – Saturday nights, when the weekend crowd commutes to the Auckland CBD for a night of bar-hopping and inevitably, drinking.  Opportunistic people also look for vulnerable people around the bus stop, knowing it is a place where people congregate.  It’s always a good idea to ask a friend or spouse/partner to pick you up from the bus stop.

Many houses / residences / flats in New Zealand do not have gates, and even when they do, the gates are not always locked.  This means not only are they targets for thieves and robbers, but criminals waiting for travelers on the sidewalk / footpath may use the gardens and hedges as hiding places with which to launch their attacks on the travelers.  I know this sounds paranoid, but it’s a reality here.

Many residential areas even in highly urbanized areas like Auckland and Wellington look deserted after 5.00 pm, especially in wintertime when everybody likes to be inside their heated homes.  If you can’t ask someone to pick you up from the bus stop, at least let them know (1) the approximate time your bus arrives at the said stop, and (2) the time it takes you to walk from the bus stop to your home.  Should too much time pass, at least action can be taken.   Forewarned is forearmed.

God bless our kabayan Blessie, and God bless us all!

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