Robinsons issues official statement on Dumaguete mall incident

Robinsons Malls management has issued an official statement regarding the incident at Robinsons Place Dumaguete earlier this month.

Robinsons has been bashed on social media after it denied Canadian retiree Mark Cohen entry to its Dumaguete mall.

The 63-year-old is the director of a non-profit organization called International Institute for Assistance Dog Training. He has Parkinsonism and always brings with him an assistance dog named Happy, who is trained to detect upcoming seizures.

Robinsons did not let Cohen and his dog in.

In its August 28 statement, the mall management explained:

We do not allow pets inside the main mall for the safety of all customers."

In a message to Robinsons, Cohen admitted that he is "a medically-certified Person with a Disability and have a neurological disorder which necessitates my having an Assistance Dog to mitigate that disability."

He claimed: "I am not blind, I can drive a car, but do have variant symptoms similar to epilepsy, Parkinsonism, and sensitivity to changes in the environment such as temperature and intensity of light."

Robinsons said:

This foreign visitor is not blind and his specific purpose for wanting to enter the mall with his dog was to use the internet facilities.

When he claimed to have a medical condition that required an "assistance" dog, mall management offered all kinds of help, including (i) arranging for the free use of WiFi facilities of a coffee shop in the mall's al fresco area; and (ii) providing a nurse that would assist him while he is inside the mall. But he refused all of these.

Facebook user Sam Du, who took a video during the incident, contradicted the mall's statement saying it was him who offered Cohen free use of his WiFi and laptop inside Bo's Coffee, which he manages.

Du also commented that nobody from the mall accomodated Cohen.

Sam Du comment
Screenshot from Facebook
Robinsons Place Dumaguete has been criticised online for their action toward Cohen.

The mall management rubbed salt to the wound when it issued an official statement without checking the "facts," as stated by Du, and knowing the difference between a pet and a service dog (assistance dog).

But there's a question raised by a reader: "Why did Cohen insist to enter the mall to use its internet facilities when he can rent a computer at an internet cafe somewhere else?"

Another observant reader replied: "The probable reason can be found on Cohen's message to Robinsons."

"We are currently producing a documentary on Rights of Access to Public Places and Transportation by People with a Disability (PWD) who have the need of an Assistance Dog to mitigate their disability," Cohen wrote.

Who do you think is telling the truth? Is it Cohen or Robinsons Mall?