Karen Davila, Lea Salonga on resort shareholder's view on autism

Since a mother’s travel review of a Cebu resort went viral, personalities (and netizens) couldn’t help but share their sentiments about this issue. To summarize, the mother lamented that she and her child with special needs wasn’t welcomed in the establishment. Karen Davila, Lea Salonga, even Autism Strong Philippines have all posted their statements. Here are some of them.

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Cathy Sanchez Babao, certified grief coach, was one of the first to come across the lengthy response of the resort. She posted on her personal Facebook page, “Shout out here to anyone who knows a Mr. Manny Gonzalez who is a shareholder of Plantation Bay. Mr. Gonzalez, I think you need an education not only on how to treat children (and parents of children) with special needs, but also in public relations. Shame on you, sir! On behalf of children with special needs, I will never ever set foot on your resort. Grabe kayo!”

A lot replied on her post, including Lea Salonga who left this comment, “Oh my God, the level of ignorant mansplaining!”

Autism Strong Philippines also released a statement, “The incident at Plantation Bay involving a child with autism was really uncalled for, especially the response of the management. The lifeguards of the resort did not deal with the situation of promptly involving the child. Unfortunately, the primary stakeholder has no knowledge when dealing with persons with autism. His response to the complaint of the parent was inappropriate. His remark continues to grow the stigma towards the PWA (Persons with Autism) community. There should be a proper investigation involving his remarks. They should conduct sensitivity training for all personnel when dealing with PWAs. That way, it will be a resort-friendly place for them. This will prevent future incidents like this. Our noble cause is still far from over for promoting a more acceptable and inclusive society for them.”

Mental health advocate Dr. Gia Sison retweeted @PinoyAkoBlog’s post on this with the caption, “Plantation Bay needs a major education caravan on mental health and children with special needs. You are beyond disappointment! And please do not include parenthood here, it has nothing to do with it.”

Karen Davila’s eldest son has special needs as well, which is why what happened at the resort caught her attention. “Shame on you, Manny Gonzalez of Plantation Bay for trying to school a parent of a child with autism on what the symptoms are. You are a disgrace to the tourism industry. Your words and heartlessness do not belong in the world today that seeks to include all persons with needs,” she tweeted. “I stand up for all parents of kids with special needs. I understand our responsibility to manage the behavior of our children, no parent deserves to be treated in this manner. A non-apology apology just hurts even more.”

As of this writing, only one apology letter by Manny Gonzalez was released.