By Junex Doronio
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu — Following a humiliating experience at Plantation Bay resort where a mother and her young son with autism were reprimanded, the Lapu-Lapu City Tourism, Cultural & Historical Affairs Commission (TCHAC) will conduct a webinar on December 14, Monday, to make sure that such “isolated case” will no longer occur anywhere in this historic resort city.
“The Lapu-Lapu City Government thru the TCHAC is hosting a webinar series starting December 14, Monday, to the hospitality and tourism industry to address the proper handling of guests with special needs like the PWDs and Senior Citizens,” Lapu-Lapu City TCHAC chairperson Cindi King-Chan said.
King-Chan is the wife of Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan who earlier asked the management of all resorts in this city to make sure that they do not discriminate and are inclusive to persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and children with special needs.
On December 10, anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Mayor Chan stressed in a statement that resorts in this city should be “havens” for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
“As a tourist-friendly resort city, I’m reminding all the hotels and resorts to make your property a haven for everybody, especially seniors and persons with disabilities,” Chan said.
It can be recalled that an incident at the high-end Plantation Bay enraged several netizens when its staff reprimanded Maria Louisa “Mai” Pages, 45, and her son with autism, Fin, 6, for allegedly making too much noise at the resort.
In a Tripadvisor review of Plantation Bay on December 6, Sunday, Pages shared how she and her 6-year-old autistic son were being “discriminated and excluded” at the resort.
Pages claimed that at least two lifeguards called her attention to stop Fin from squealing while swimming in a resort’s pool.
She explained to the lifeguards that Fin has “special needs” but they apparently ignored her.
The resort’s owner Manny Gonzalez strongly reacted to Pages’ review on TripAdvisor, saying “shouting” was not a “symptom” of autism.
A statement posted by the Autism Society of the Philippines said Gonzalez’s comment was “ignorant of what the autism spectrum is.”
Gonzalez later posted a letter on the company’s social media account apologizing for his reply on TripAdvisor.
Pages also said she would no longer file a case against the management of Plantation Bay.
“This incident is an eye-opener to the city,” Chan remarked.
The mayor added that he was “saddened” by the incident in what he described as the “biggest” resort in Mactan Island.
Chan said that he is envisioning to make Lapu-Lapu City a home to hundreds of resorts – “inclusive for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and children with special needs.” (AI/MTVN)