Netizens cried foul after a university student was body-shamed by a conductor of a modern jeepney she boarded in the downtown area of Bacolod City on Wednesday, September 20.
Lanimae Joy Mag-aro, a psychology student from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, said in a Facebook post that she was publicly body-shamed by the conductor of a modern jeepney owned by RSJ Lines Inc. after she was asked to pay for two seat spaces because of her body size.
She said when she rode the modern jeepney the conductor said :“Regular ka? Duwa ka bangko imo baydan ha ” (Are you regular? You pay for two seats)”.
Mag-aro said she replied that she was a student and the conductor told her to pay P22 instead of the student fare of P11.
Embarrassed with all the other passengers listening she got off the vehicle and cried on the side of the road, Mag-aro said.
“I cried on the side of road, my hand was trembling, and I felt so ashamed of myself. At that moment I was ashamed of my body, of myself,” she said
Mag-aro’s Facebook post made the rounds of social media and as of 11:30 p.m. Thursday it had 21,000 shares and 2,100 comments from angry netizens who sympathized with her.
RSJ Lines Inc., issued a public statement apologizing for the incident.
“Internally, we have reached out to the aggrieved individual privately and have taken measures to address the situation comprehensively, including a thorough investigation and the implementation of appropriate disciplinary actions to our employee,” the statement said.
The situation caught the attention of Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez who called the owner and the conductor of the modern jeepney to the Bacolod City Government Center on Thursday, September 21.
Benitez said that the owner and the conductor apologized to him and tried everything to appease the victim.
The owner also assured that the drivers and conductors of their company were oriented on how to conduct themselves in public and upon their internal investigation, the conductor alleged that he was just teasing the student, it was a joke.
Benitez called the public to always be careful and uphold social values to avoid hurting people.
Mag-aro, in an interview, said she still felt drained and humiliated after the incident but she is thankful to those who privately messaged her and helped her to attain justice to what happened.
“It affected my mental health, up until now, my hands are still shaking especially when riding jeepneys, thinking if I would be body-shamed again,” she said, adding that she is thankful to her sibling and friends at school for assuring her of her safety.
The conductor, in a video posted on the Bacolod Public Information Office Facebook page Thursday evening, sought the forgiveness of Mag-aro for hurting her and said he would not do it again.*