MANILA -- Former "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate and Down syndrome advocate Vickie Rushton said she felt bad after reading about the recent controversy at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, which involved a mother and her child with special needs.
Reposting art cards containing her statement on the matter on Instagram Stories, the Binibining Pilipinas 2020 candidate said she can relate to the experience as she has been "bullied for having a brother with Down Syndrome."
"Last night, I've read what happened to Fin and his mom when all they wanted was a happy getaway," she said. "I can't help but to feel bad because as a sister to Toto Kian, I have witnessed how other people can be mean at times."
"You know what, they (people with special needs) have simple joys and their heart is so pure that no matter how bad others may treat them, they still see the goodness in people," she added.
Rushton went on to stress that she wants to advocate for people with special needs because "these children depend on us to voice out what they can't say and to fight for them."
She urged the public to educate themselves "because there is so much we can do for them and it's as simple as embracing them and being kind to them."
Rushton reposted another art card, which quoted her as saying that she continues to educate herself about her advocacy.
"Inclusion starts with 'I,'" she said, stressing the need to "cultivate inclusion" of children with special needs.
Rushton also shared a post by Save the Children Philippines, which encouraged the "genuine understanding and acceptance of the condition of children with disabilities."
Plantation Bay drew flak on social media early this week after one of its shareholders negatively responded to a review by TripAdvisor user Mae Pages, a parent of a child who has autism.
She said at least two lifeguards called them out after they heard her son Fin "squealing with delight" whenever he jumps into the water.
Plantation Bay resident shareholder Manny Gonzalez responded to Pages and accused her of "most deliberately lying or has been given an incorrect diagnosis of autism."
Gonzalez has since apologized for his "poor handling of a guest complaint" through a statement released by the resort.