we are posting here this comment by a reader on the above: (click to read here: http://wawam.wordpress.com/the-traffic-plan-ags-ignored/#comment-6031)
Hi! I’m not sure if the blog writers here are aware, but in any case, this might be of interest:
A new Ateneo Traffic Group (ATG) was formed by the new president of Ateneo (Fr. Jett Villarin) to study traffic concerns in Ateneo. I think this might be the right time to revive this traffic scheme which the AGS apparently ignored a few years ago following the accident involving Amiel Alcantara. I suggest that this traffic scheme be sent to the ATG directly at firstname.lastname@example.org along with an enlarged diagram (the one in this page looks a bit too small).
I do observe, though, that traffic in Ateneo and Katipunan seems to be at its worst during rush hours at the Ateneo Grade School. It appears that they want to reduce car volume on campus as much as they can. This is probably the reason why they are encouraging people to bike more (hence the bike lanes proposal) or depend on public transportation. There are also proposals for carpooling/shuttle/drop and ride schemes, more covered walkways, and tighter traffic rules.
Due to the occasional petty crimes these days along the streets and in public transportations, I doubt though that depending on public transportation is a good idea if we want kids, especially the AGS students, to be safe. But if this is the case, I don’t think we can expect car volume on campus to go down significantly especially during rush hours in Ateneo. However, there surely has to be many other better ways of dealing with the traffic problem.
Judging from the news articles at the Ateneo website, it appears that Fr. Jett’s priority in this activity is to study how to make Ateneo as environment-friendly as possible. I hope, though, that they don’t forget about the safety of the children in designing new traffic schemes and policies.
Here are more related details (along with other proposals in the article re: community meeting) about the Ateneo Traffic Group formed earlier this year:
this blog had been very involved on the safety and traffic situation at the Ateneo since some years ago as we responded to the accidental death of then a grade 5 boy at the ateneo grade school, amiel alcanatara on february 24, 2009.
amiel died in a traffic accident at the ateneo grade school parking lot as he was navigating the parking lot . amiel came from the school canteen where he bought some food and was on his way back to the family car when a grade school mom in her van lost control of the van she was driving and rammed amiel to his death at the back of the alcantara family car.
almost right after amiel’s accidental death at the parking lot, a group of AGS (ateneo grade school) parents who did not know each other simultaneously got together to analyze the safety and traffic situation at the ateneo and proposed changes and improvements to the safety and traffic situation at the AGS. many of the parents in the group were engineers and architects who are knowledgeable and in fact had experience in designing traffic flow management.
ateneo had set up a committee composed of different stakeholders in the school to recommend to the school actions and changes in the safety and traffic situation at AGS. this gorup of parents were eventually invited to join the committee.
the output of this group of parents was a long list of short, medium to long term recommendations on what the school might want to do to improve safety and traffic at AGS and in some parts the rest of the school.
these recommendations were in some form or another submitted to the school just months after amiel’s death in february 2009. unfortunately, the committee who was headed then by Mr. John Paul Vergara, a university school official had ignored the group’s recommendations which included a preliminary traffic management plan that included changes in the physical layout of the AGS parking lot and a new traffic flow proposal.
we are not sure if the AGS or ateneo even looked at the proposal but we did observe that the school implemented a traffic plan that did not include the recommendation of the group.
three years after the accidental death of amiel alcantara at the AGS parking lot due to a traffic accident, ateneo has announced the formation of the Ateneo Traffic Group under the leadership of the new Ateneo University president, Fr. Jett Villarin as posted here in this blog by dino wo we assume is an ateneo parent.
dino has suggested that we send the output of the work of group of parents to the ateneo. this blog has assinged that task to one of its writers and will update developments here.
theresa torres, the mother/driver suspect charged in the death of grade 4 student amiel alcantara at the ateneo grade school pleaded not guilty in court on criminal charges lodged by the alcantara family. amiel was killed at the ateneo grade school parking lot when the van driven by torres pinned the grade 4 boy to another car and crushed him to death. amiel’s nanny and sister were also hurt in the same car accident.
the QC Court Branch 106 judge also said that in accordance with court rules, the parties are mandated to elevate the case to mediation. it was the first time we heard of this process.
the idea of going through mediation according to documents we have read is to find a way to unclog the courts of cases. while it might achieve that in some way, we think more than anything, this is just an additional process to the judicial proceeding which to begin with already takes a long time. what this does is it adds one more process to an already very long process.
amiel alcantara was killed in february 24, 2009 and the arraignment of the case was done just a few days ago, after almost one year and a half in the courts. the case has just been started after 18 months. the mediation will add more months to it.
(read about mediation at the courts here: http://www.pmc.org.ph/about-the-philippine-mediation-center.htm)
the parties in court cases are forced to go through it. we think that should be changed where the parties may simply say whether they want to go through it or by-pass it all together to go straight to trial. the courts are clogged with cases not because of a lack of mediation, it is the slow process that judges allow to occur in its proceedings.
the mediation process helps the court in unclogging it but it does not help the parties involved in the case. all it does is it prolongs the court case further.
the mediation process only adds to an already prolonged process and adds misery and pain to the victims and families of the victims. this additional process does not really decongest the courts, all it does is give the cases one more detour. it postpones or delays the progress of the case, it does not remove them.
the mediation process for the amiel alcantara death case is scheduled for november.
Suspect in Ateneo student’s death pleads not guilty
MANILA, Philippines – A woman accused of running over a Grade 4 student at the Ateneo de Manila University on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City last year pled not guilty to criminal charges before a local court Thursday.
Maria Theresa Torres, the woman who ran over and killed 10-year-old student Amiel Alcantara last year, was arraigned at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court branch 106.
amiel alcantara is the grade 4 student at the ateneo de manila university grade school (AGS) who was killed in a traffic accident at the ateneo grade school parking lot in february 24, 2009. we have given extensive coverage on the amiel case in this blog (click to read: http://wawam.wordpress.com/category/amiel-alcantara/).
we received a text message on the on-going court case as follows :
After a slow process 18 months, the Amiel Alcantara case will be finally arraigned on Thursday, 21 October, 8:30 am, QC Branch 106.
Present judicial process requires “arbitration” between parties after arraignment, aiming for “settlement” of what cannot be undone and transacted, the loss of precious life inside a school where children safely grow. It’s this time that we see how a judicial process, and creativity of its participants value and respect the life of Amiel, a helpless victim of a grossly dangerous mother/driver.
As our family, friends, and community grieve, we pray for justice, we pray for safety and protection of our precious little ones.
~~Pepe Alcantara & Family
we have not forgotten amiel. we see his marker at the ateneo grade school parking lot almost everyday of the week and we are constantly reminded of how a precious life was taken from a place where we automatically assume to be safe – the school. how much of a future was taken away from amiel and his family we cannot properly imagine but we know it is great and most likely not measurable. we pray for amiel whenever we see that marker – one for amiel’s soul and another for his family.
we are also reminded of how fragile safety is even in school for our grade school children. and we wonder aloud if ateneo has done enough for safety and to help ensure what happened to amiel is not repeated in the future. we remember the promise of the school that more will be done and also remember none came.
in tomorrow’s arraignment, we hope the ateneo community and the school reflects on these things.
i have a son who studies at the ateneo de manila grade school and i am a member of a yahoogroup for the parents of the grade of my son.
the yahoogroup first got to know about what happened to a batchmate of my son, huey sepulveda some months back. huey had to stop schooling after grade 4 as he was found to have leukemia because his body no longer has the strength to do so.
in recent weeks we heard about huey again and this time things seemed to have turned to the more difficult for him. the members of the yahoogroup sent prayers, encouragement and all the love we can muster for huey, his mom, dad and family.
i am publishing this email sent by huey’s mom, fides to the yahoogroup (with permission from fides) for the ateneo community to read and others who go to this blog to share the road huey and his family are now travelling.
i am asking the ateneo community and those who are reading this to help huey and his family through prayers, encouragement or financial help for this young 12 year old boy.
just this morning, i was sent an urgent text coming from tom, huey’s dad:
I need blood donors type O because my son’s platelet is very, very low. He is bleeding. Please send blood donor to UERM blood bank and tell them it is for Julio Alfonso Sepulveda. I badly need your help. Thanks.
my family’s prayers go for huey and his family.
email from fides, huey’s mom to the yahoogroup:
It is 11 pm now, watching Huey in deep sleep, and I am having my moments. I needed someone to cry to at this time of the night. And I thought of writing you… finally.It has been 1 week and 4 days since I brought Huey to the hospital by ambulance due to severe pain. Since then, he has just been on bed. And as I write this, I am beginning to miss the sprightly Huey that I am used to – walking freely around the house, playing his gadgets carelessly, eating his favorite foods heartily, talking with his big husky voice endlessly.Now, he sleeps more than he is awake. He gets up to recline on the bed with much help. We try to get him back to play his video games (his source of fun) by propping him up in his wheelchair, thinking that it might energize him.In the beginning, he managed to play but only for a measly hour or so. The pain overtakes him, he would give it up to rest and sleep. He has lost his hearty appetite too. No more of the usual order list from him as I did a few groceries in the afternoon today.However the leukemia may be taking its toll on Huey physically, his mind remains alert and his spirit, positive. Huey is not the complaining type, he tolerates as much pain as he could. He is still the sweet Huey who says “Good night, I love you” with a bear hug.As of Feb 1, his blood profile showed that his bone marrow is producing 100% leukemic cells. It has spread so fast that by Feb 12, his peripheral veins are now 80% leukemic cells already. He is under pain management program taking in morphine and other pain killers under a dosage that he is still arousable and with pain that he can manage. He has recurrent fever ( at least twice a day), due to malignancy of his leukemia. He’s had platelets transfusion twice in a week. It is going to be like this in the next days or weeks to come – pain killing and blood transfusion – until the final call comes.When he wakes up, it is almost like a big reunion for the 4 of us. We savor the time as if it is our last time together as a complete family.This has long been overdue but please allow me to thank you all for your prayers, love, time, attention, and financial support for Huey and our family. To think that Huey has stopped schooling in Ateneo in Grade 4. As Vxxx would always remind me, this is the Ateneo way… and so I thought of writing you my pain as a parent because I know you are with me in this.Thank you to your angels too – your sons, who will surely become like you - parents for others.Good night! Time to hug Huey in his sleep….Sincerely yours,Fides