MRT-3 apologizes for commuter's damaged laptop but says it's not liable

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) — The Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) management on Tuesday apologized to a commuter who detailed in a tweet how her laptop got damaged at one of the train station's x-ray scanners.

"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," it said in a statement.

In a series of tweets, Allana Columbres recounted that the MRT-3 personnel at the Taft station did not attend to her when she informed them that her bag containing her laptop got stuck in an x-ray scanner.

She claimed that a security guard even announced through a megaphone, "Ilagay niyo po nang maayos yung bag niyo para di kayo matulad kay ate dito. [Put your bag in properly so you don't end up like the woman here.]

"Kahit konting sympathy man lang sana [A little sympathy] would've been fine. But no, they didn't care even for a while. I felt so bad for myself," she said.

Columbres recalled she placed her bag with the laptop - a gift from her father - flat on its back on the scanner's conveyor belt when another commuter "forcefully pushed" his bag inside the scanner, causing Columbres' bag to turn upright.

She said the conveyor belt stopped as her laptop got stuck inside the scanner, and when it worked again she found her laptop bent and "horribly shattered."

According to Columbres, her viral post resulted in several netizens reaching out to her to share their own experiences with MRT-3 personnel.

"Yung iba raw nanakawan, pero sila yung sinisi. Yung iba na-discriminate (LGBTQ+ and PWD community), yung iba same with me na nasiraan ng gadgets," she told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: They claimed they were robbed, but they were the ones blamed. Others were discriminated against (LGBTQ+ and PWD community), others were same as me whose gadgets got damaged.]

The MRT-3 management assured the public that it will be taking "necessary steps," including customer service training, to improve how its employees handle passenger complaints.

'Not liable for loss or damage in MRT-3 premises'

Although the MRT-3 management apologized for the incident, it reminded the public about the proper procedure for getting baggage with gadgets checked in the x-ray scanner.

"MRT-3's policy for electronic gadgets such as laptops, tablets, and iPads, is to have the passenger put them in a separate tray before the tray is placed on the conveyor belt for scanning. This is for the x-ray operators to be able to view the electronic gadgets more clearly as they pass through the x-ray scanner," it said.

According to the train management, Columbres placed her backpack on the conveyor belt of the x-ray scanner without informing the security guards on duty.

"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," it explained.

The MRT-3 management further pointed out that signages informing the public of its policy on gadgets are posted in its stations and reminded passengers that "MRT-3 will not be liable for any baggage loss or damage incurred while the x-ray scanner is in operation and also while the passenger is inside MRT-3 premises."