Bacolod jeepney conductor apologizes for body-shaming passenger
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — A conductor of a modern jeepney publicly apologized after a Facebook post describing how he body-shamed a student here on Wednesday drew the ire of netizens and local officials.
The conductor, in a video posted on the Bacolod Public Information Office’s Facebook page on Sept. 21, sought the forgiveness of Lanimae Joy Mag-aro for hurting her and promised not to repeat the offense.
The conductor also apologized to Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and the jeepney operator after the mayor took him and the transport company to task for his behavior.
Mag-aro, a psychology student from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, said in a post on her Facebook page that she was publicly body-shamed by the conductor of the jeepney owned by RSJ Lines Inc. after she was asked to pay for two seats because of her body size when she rode the jeepney on Sept. 20.
The conductor allegedly told her in Hiligaynon: “Are you regular? You will have to pay for two seats.”
Mag-aro said she replied that she was a student, but the conductor told her to pay P22 instead of the student fare of P11.
Embarrassed with all the other passengers listening, she got out of the vehicle.
“I cried on the side of [the] road. My hand was trembling, and I felt so ashamed of myself. At that moment I was ashamed of my body, of myself,” Mag-aro said in her Sept. 20 Facebook post.
On Sept. 21, Benitez called the operator of RSJ Lines Inc. and the conductor to his office after learning about the incident.
RSJ Lines Inc. subsequently issued a public statement on Facebook, apologizing for the incident, saying: “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.”
Benitez said the conductor told him it was just a joke. “[But] I told him, it was a bad joke,” the mayor said.
Benitez called on the public to be mindful of their behavior, embrace proper social values, and avoid hurting people.