Bank of the Philippine Islands has been under fire for not allowing a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf to withdraw money at one of its branches in Cagayan de Oro. In a Facebook status posted on Monday, February 16, by Mikee Pantaran Maruhom, the post narrates a security guard at the bank branch denying entry to the woman customer, his mother, who was wearing a hijab – a head scarf worn by Muslim women.
His mother insisted on entering the bank to withdraw some cash from the ATM, but was told that no head gears or coverings were allowed as per the BPI branch’s policy.
The post from Mikee appears to have struck a chord on Facebook, where the post has received more than 1,600 likes and has been shared nearly 1,200 times as of 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 16.
Here’s his Facebook post.
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, IS THIS WHAT YOU SAY BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE? DISGRACEFUL, ISLAMOPHOBE AND RACIST.
My day is supposed to be fun, but it ended up with frustration.
My parents went to Cagayan de Oro City today. Along the way, my mom decided to stop by in the Bank of the Philippine Islands – Divisoria branch to withdraw some cash at 2:30pm. Upon approaching the bank, my mom noticed that the ATMs were inside the bank, hence she decided to enter.
Upon approaching the entrance, the guard with a nameplate “Avenido” from a Dagohoy Security Company barred my mom from entering the premises. Shocked, my mom immediately told the guard that she needed to withdraw some cash from the ATM.
Seeing my mom, the guard told her to remove her head scarf (kumbong) before she can enter the bank.
“UNSA?! KANI? (pointing at her head scarf) IMO NI IPATANGTANG?”
“KANA MA’AM. POLISIYA MAN GUD SA BANKO.”
“AY. KUNG IMO NI IPATANGTANG, DI NAKO MUSULOD.”
My mom, feeling insulted, turned her back from the security guard after getting his name and told him that she will file a complaint against the bank.
My dad, after knowing what happened, immediately went to the bank and demanded to see the manager. The branch manager (Gemma de Castro), explaining that it was their policy to ask veiled women to remove their scarfs, offered to have my mom enter the bank after my dad told him that we are not some ignorants that they can fool with and that my mom is also a licensed physician.
My dad told the manager that my mom won’t be using the ATM at that time, as she felt insulted, degraded and betrayed. I can still see the disappointment in my mom’s eyes earlier.
I have never been so disappointed, and this is just too much. Our family have been clients of BPI as far as I can remember yet they have such an exclusivist policy for their clients.
No wonder. No matter how the so-called “us” try to be professionals and integrate ourselves to the larger society, still we are branded as no-good shenanigans.
WE ARE MUSLIMS, YES. BUT SURELY, WE ARE NO TERRORISTS OR ANY OF THE SORT.
AND THAT APPROACH LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IS ONE OF THE 101 THEORITICAL WAYS TO BREW AND COOK A RADICAL JIHADIST. I am no radical, but this treatment is somewhat similar to the causes of the continuing fundamentalism and radicalism of ideologies.
I call on the the management of the Bank of the Philippine Islands to correct such policy, and clear all of this. I want this also to be in the attention of the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos, it is time to take action!
KLIYENTE NINYO, PINAPAHIYA NINYO. DISGUSTING BPI, REALLY.