DOT probes Cebu resort’s alleged harsh treatment of special needs child
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Wednesday said it has placed under investigation the Plantation Bay & Resort Spa following a reported poor treatment of a guest and her special needs child.
“The Department of Tourism has already launched an investigation into the matter, and after due notice and hearing, will mete the proper administrative sanctions to the resort,” the department said in a statement.
“The DOT will also coordinate with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its proper action under the Disability Law, under which the aggrieved party may also file the complaint,” the DOT added.
The issue started over the weekend when a resort guest identified as Mai Pages posted a negative review about the establishment. According to Pages, she and her six-year-old son with autism were repeatedly told by the staff to keep quiet while staying at the pool.
Pages said she had explained that her son has autism that made him predisposed to having squeals of delight when he is happy or excited, but a staff supposedly continued to tell them to keep quiet.
However, instead of apologizing, the resort’s resident shareholder Manny Gonzalez responded to the review by schooling the mother about autism. Gonzales, in his now-deleted reply, also accused Pages of lying about their experiences.
“For your information, uncontrolled shouting is not a symptom of autism. On the contrary, autistic children tend to be silent, non-verbal, and overwhelmed and withdrawn when faced with strangers. Google ‘Autism’ and verify [it for] yourself,” he replied.
“[T]his parent is most likely deliberately lying, or has been given an incorrect diagnosis of autism, when what the child more likely have is a lack of discipline due to simple parental neglect,” he continued.
Gonzalez on Tuesday released an apology to the guest, citing his “poor handling of a guest complaint.”
“I was wrong to question the mother’s motives, and deeply regret leaving the impression that we are not supportive of the community of parents with children who have special needs,” he said.
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