DOT launches probe into Plantation Bay’s poor handling of guest complaint

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
DOT launches probe into Plantation Bayâs poor handling of guest complaint
This undated photo shows a view of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan, Cebu
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines —  The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Wednesday said it has launched a probe into the reported poor handling of guest complaint of a resort in Mactan, Cebu.

Plantation Bay Resort and Spa’s resident shareholder Manny Gonzalez drew flak after his negative response to a review by a parent of a child with special needs circulated online.

In the travel review website Trip Advisor, Mai Pages, a mother to a six-year-old child with autism wrote an alleged “discriminating” experience during her stay in the Cebu Resort.

She said the resort was "not an ideal place for a child with special needs."

Gonzalez, responded to Pages in a now-deleted comment and claimed that the mother is “most likely deliberately lying," citing that “uncontrolled shouting is not a symptom of autism.”

"Google 'Autism' and verify this for yourself. Therefore this parent is most likely deliberately lying, or has been given an incorrect diagnosis of autism, when what the child more likely has is a lack of discipline due to simple parental neglect,” Gonzalez wrote.

This response, made waves on social media and reached the authorities.

 “The DOT has already launched an investigation into the matter, and after due notice and hearing, will mete the proper administrative sanctions to the resort,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat 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,” she added.

Gonzalez on Tuesday evening issued an apology, saying he 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.”

“Our hotel’s policy on keeping noise levels down in the pool and at the restaurants eared towards safety and relaxation for all guests,” Gonzalez’ statement read, adding that this is being applied “even-handedly.”

"As a result of that policy, in almost 25 years we have never had a child die here. A mother's pride is important, but more important are the lives of children who come here. Regardless, I handled this case poorly, and apologize to all the parties who felt offended by my reply," he added.

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