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MRT-3 apologizes but denies liability over commuter's damaged laptop

By Ratziel San Juan Published Mar 22, 2023 10:42 am

The Manila Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 management said it will not be liable for a passenger whose laptop was damaged while lining up at an MRT station's X-ray scanner.

In a statement released on March 21, MRT-3 noted that they have an existing policy for electronic gadgets and that signs are plastered beside the X-ray scanners.

"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 read.

According to commuter Allana Columbres, she was at Taft Station on her way home during rush hour on March 15 when she carefully placed inside the X-ray scanner her bag containing her laptop and other valuables.

The MRT passenger claimed the stationed guards just watched without pushing the "emergency stop" button or following another protocol when they "heard a loud crack" coming from the scanner.

The result was the laptop had been bent with its screen shattered. The device was a birthday gift from her overseas Filipino worker father whom Allana only sees twice a year or less.

Aside from the social media post, the MRT-3 management received a complaint on behalf of the concerned passenger.

Citing its investigation, the management claimed that the CCTV positioned at the X-ray scanner counter captured the commuter proceeding to place her backpack on the conveyer belt. However, she allegedly did not inform the security guards on duty that the bag contained a laptop, her bag was already in an upright position when she placed it in the scanner, and there was space between her and the next passenger in line.

Thus, it maintained that the policies in place mean that MRT-3 will not be liable for any damages.

"It is also worth noting that a tarpaulin signage bearing MRT-3's policy on electronic gadgets is positioned beside the X-ray scanner on both the Northbound and Southbound entries of MRT-3 stations. The signage also reminds 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," MRT-3 management wrote.

The management has since reached out to the commuter to apologize for the incident, assuring her and the public that it will take necessary steps to improve its employees' handling of passenger complaints. These include instructing the rain line's security provider to launch a series of customer service training for all relevant personnel.

In light of the statement, Allana has retweeted posts calling to "stop the gaslighting" and explaining her side that the incident took place during rush hour meaning the MRT-3's suggested "separate tray" solution is impractical.