ICYMI, a passenger’s horror story about getting her laptop damaged while going through the scanner at a Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) station — without getting any sympathy from security personnel — went viral on Twitter recently.
Following the backlash, the MRT-3 management responded and apologized for the passenger’s broken laptop — but insisted it was not liable for its damage.
In a series of tweets, De La Salle University student Allana Columbres (@allanamarieco) shared that she was queueing up at MRT-3 Taft Station in Manila during rush hour at 9pm when the incident happened. She placed her backpack — containing her laptop — flat inside the scanner when another passenger beside her shoved his bag inside the scanner, which caused her laptop bag to spring upright.
Allana said she saw the situation right away and panicked, rushing to the other side of the scanner, but her laptop got jammed inside. She said that the guards did not press the emergency stop button even when the conveyor belt stopped moving. Eventually, they all heard a loud crack and the conveyor belt started moving again. When Allana retrieved her bag, she found her laptop bent in the middle with a shattered screen.
Allana claimed that the guards turned their backs at her while telling others over a megaphone to place their bags properly inside the scanner so as not to end up like her.
“The MRT-3 has already reached out to Ms. Columbres to apologize for the unfortunate incident and the manner by which the on-duty personnel failed to act with more compassion towards her. It is MRT-3’s policy for the employees to extend utmost courtesy and tolerance to all passengers at all times,” authorities said in a statement.
The MRT-3 also disputed Columbres’ claims, saying that their CCTV footage showed that the bag was placed in an upright position instead of being laid flat and that there was “adequate space” between Columbres’ bag and that of the passenger behind her.
It also said that, contrary to Columbres’ claim that guards did not press the emergency button when the jam happened, “the machine operator immediately stopped the x-ray scanner when the jam registered on the monitor, to prevent further pile-up.”
MRT-3 also reminded the public to place their electronic gadgets on the trays provided, and added that the guards were not informed that there was a laptop inside her backpack. “Hence, the electronic gadget was not put on a separate tray, a pile of which is found beside the x-ray scanner, before it was placed on the conveyor belt.”
The statement went on to say that there are signs around the station reminding passengers that “MRT-3 will not be liable for any baggage losses or damages incurred while the x-ray scanner is in operation and also while the passenger is inside MRT-3 premises.”
Netizens, however, were unhappy with the statement, with many arguing that MRT-3 management should release the actual footage for transparency’s sake.
“Common sense: why would she intentionally place her bag upright? Where’s the CCTV footage?” one wrote.
Others accused MRT-3 of gaslighting and added that it was impractical and unsafe for people to take out their gadgets, especially during rush hour.
“Who in their right mind would take out their laptop or other devices, put in a tray, and then get it on the other side of the xray scanner during rush hour? If it gets stolen, security personnel won’t even be held accountable,” one user said.
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