‘Inspired’ by Hogwarts? DOTr explains ‘confusing’ PWD sign of restroom lobby

March 3, 2021 - 7:22 PM
DOTR comfort rooms
DOTr inspecting the Tagbilaran Port Passenger Terminal Building as shared on its Facebook page on March 2, 2021. (Photo from Department of Transportation-Philippines via Facebook)

The transportation department confused some Filipinos on social media when it released a photo showing two doors of restrooms with a signage for persons with disabilities (PWD) in the middle.

Columnist and economist JC Punongbayan on Tuesday shared a screengrab of the Department of Transporation‘s picture and called it “Comfort Room 9 3/4” on Twitter.

9 3/4 is a reference from the popular fantasy series “Harry Potter.” The photo, according to him, reminds him of the famous train platform from the series which leads to the fictional Hogwarts school.

In the fantasy series, the train platform that Hogwarts students go to is called platform nine and three quarters because it is located between platforms 9 and 10 of the London’s King’s Cross station.

The only way to go to the magical platform is by directly walking through the solid barrier, which will lead the student to a platform where a train called Hogwarts Express can be seen.

A scene of this was featured on “Wizarding World’s” YouTube account. It shows Potter going to the magical platform for the first time.


Meanwhile, Punongbayan’s tweet about DOTr’s comfort rooms has gone viral with more than 3,100 likes and more than almost 500 retweets on the microblogging platform.


Some Filipinos agreed with his sentiments on the replies thread.

“Hahaha… ang talino. Harry Potter inspired. I wonder saan nakakarating? Hogwarts din kaya?” a Twitter user responded to him.

“Bwahaha! Lulusot sa pader ‘pag PWD?” another online user quipped.

There were also Filipinos who responded with a GIF of the famous “Harry Potter” scene.

The DOTr directly answered Punongbayan a day after his tweet and said that “both comfort rooms are dedicated solely for PWDs.”

“That is the reason why the doors have wide and PWD-accessible configuration,” it added.

“If you will also look closely at the photo, there are two arrows at the left side pointing to opposite directions. Those two arrows are directional signages leading to the male and female regular comfort rooms,” the agency further said.

The DOTr explained that the photo which Punongbayan referred to was “part of a series of shots taken during the inspection of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade at the newly-constructed Tagbilaran Port Passenger Terminal Building.”

Its explanation was also uploaded as a caption on the photo seen on Facebook. It was posted on the same day it offered clarification on Twitter.


The DOTr posted another social media post with a graphic clarifying the photo.

“Kalma, friends. Ang ibig sabihin ng sign, both restrooms are dedicated for PWDs. Kaya din po malapad ang pintuan. May directional sign din po sa tabi na nagsasabi kung saan ‘yung regular restrooms,” the text reads. 

DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran likewise shared her own explanation on her Facebook page where she directly responded against comments comparing it to the train platform in the “Harry Potter” franchise.

“Una, HINDI po namin pinatatagos ‘yung mga kababayan nating persons with disabilities (PWD) sa pader gaya ng pinakakalat ng ilan,” she wrote.

“Ang ibig sabihin po ng signage na ‘yan, both comfort rooms are dedicated solely for our dear PWDs. Ibig sabihin, ginawa po ang mga C.R. na ‘yan para sa mga kababayan nating may kapansanan. Makikita n’yo naman po ‘yung configuration ng mga pintuan—malalapad at PWD-accessible,” Libiran added.

She also shared a link to DOTr’s Facebook post that reported on Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and his agency visiting Tagbilaran and being briefed about the status update of the Tagbilaran Port Project.

The port has a new Passenger Terminal Building which is set to be inaugurated on April 4, 2021.