For our dear Amiel’s
1st yr death anniversary,
Ateneo set Mass on 24th Feb, 6:30 AM
at Ateneo Grade School Chapel.
Breakfast will follow.
Also in the evening of 24th feb,
we have arranged 6:30 pm
prayer and candle lighting
at the Amiel Marker in front of Ateneo Grade School.
Pls join salo-salo dinner in the grounds after.
message posted at facebook “Justice For Amiel Alcantara”
Driver in Ateneo stude’s death case faces car theft rap
By Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:57:00 01/28/2010
MANILA, Philippines–The woman accused of killing a 10-year-old Ateneo Grade School student last year has been charged with another offense.
A balikbayan recently filed an affidavit with the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office in which she accused Ma. Theresa Songco Torres of stealing her van—the one the latter was driving when she ran over Juan Carlo Miguel “Amiel” Alcantara.
Alcantara was crossing the school parking lot with his siblings and nanny when he was hit by the van on Feb. 24, 2009. His nanny was injured while the boy was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital due to head injuries.
Torres was later charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and physical injures before a Quezon City court over Alcantara’s death. The case is still pending.
The new complaint against her was filed by Virginia Ibali, 54, an American citizen who lives in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, but also owns a house in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City.
In a two-page complaint dated Jan. 19, Ibali said she was watching the news on March 2 last year in her house in Ilocos Sur when she learned that her van—a Toyota Hi-Ace van 2000 model with plate number CRW 705—was involved in an accident on the Ateneo campus in Quezon City on Feb. 24, 2009.
“The news report pinpointed to a certain Maria Theresa Songco Torres as the person who was in control of the said vehicle at the time of the incident,” she said.
According to Ibali, she last saw her van on Jan. 20 last year. She added that she kept the van at her house in Quezon City and that the only time she used it was whenever she was in Metro Manila.
She also said that since she bought the van in May 2002, she has not sold, transferred its ownership or mortgaged the vehicle.
“Neither did I authorize Maria Theresa Songco Torres to get or use the same,” she said, adding that she later learned from her neighbors that her van had been missing even before the day Alcantara was killed.
The van has been impounded by the Quezon City police since.
Ibali said that when she checked with the Land Transportation Office, she was told that the van was still registered in her name.
She added that she immediately reported the loss of her vehicle to the Ilocos Norte police while she filed a complaint with Quezon City policemen late last year.
“This affidavit is being executed as a basis for my complaint for the crime of carnapping against Maria Theresa Songco Torres for taking, carrying away and stealing my said vehicle without my consent,” Ibali said.
after one quarter of trying out the new traffic scheme at the ateneo grade school, we now have a very good picture of how it has performed and what needs to be changed as soon as possible.
we think these are the incompetency of the new traffic scheme:
- new and additional parking spaces were not added, parking spaces not enough for all the AGS vehicles - it is obvious that not having enough parking spaces for all the AGS vehicles is the most important problem and one that this new parking scheme did not even attempt to solve. this is very much obvious specially during the time closest to dismissal time when vehicles are double, triple and quadruple parked on the existing parking spaces. cars are parked perpendicular to the cars parked on the designated lanes and on both sides of the lanes. this gets so bad that it has become very slow to get out of the parking lots. the cars parked now reach beyond the the area of the pedestrian overpass on katipunan road. we agree that this situation means the dangers that were there before were not really solved but simply transferred to the parking areas.
- the new traffic scheme is causing a lot of heavy traffic and has at least doubled the travel time in and out of the campus. traffic flow has been significantly slowed down, slowed down at least twice as much not only inside the campus but also in entering the campus from katipunan road. going out of the campus is much slower.
- the curbside designations according to grades is ill-conceived and incompetently drawn. grades 1,3,5 and 7 are supposed to be picked up on the curbside where amiel alcantara’s marker is and beside irwin theater while grades 2, 4 and 6 are supposed to use the curbside beside the AGS buildings, on the heritage room side. the scheme splits the number of students to 60-40, with 60% of the students, or those students belonging to odd numbered grades at the longer curbside. this is great IF the length of the comparative curbsides are also 60-40 in ratio but it is not. the curbside for the even-numbered grades is easily only 20% in total length compared to the total length of the curbside for the odd numbered grades. that means too many cars are all being jam-packed into a mush shorter curbside inside the campus by the heritage room and that is causing so much traffic. getting in and of that area is at least 3 to 5 times longer than on the side of the odd-numbered grades.
- the crossing at the entrance to the school by the blue eagle’s gym (gate 2) is nothing but mayhem. this should have been obvious to the designers of the new traffic scheme. that crossing takes in a total of 7 lanes coming from 4 different directions converging into that single point – at least 3 lanes from cars entering gate 2 going into the campus, 1 lane coming from the road beside katipunan going to the grade school parking lot, 2 lanes coming from the parking lot who will exit the campus and 2 lanes on matheson drive entering the grade school parking lot and exiting the campus. all these converge on that single point clogging all the lanes going in and out of the campus.
there are other incompetency but we think these are the major problems that need to be fixed immediately.
separately, we heard that in talks to parents, a school official has been telling the parents the current traffic scheme is “short term” and the the traffic scheme presented by a group of parents that the school ignored is being labeled as “long term” and that this school official is in contact with these group of parents about it.
we do not know what this school official is up to but many of the things this school official said about the traffic scheme the school ignored is not true.
we hope AGS will correct the incompetency of the new traffic scheme.
now that the new traffic scheme is in place and we have had a few weeks experience with it, my conclusion is that the key problem at the parking lot is that there is not enough parking spaces for all the cars that go to ateneo to pick up AGS students. and that problem may have caused the tragic accident at the AGS parking lot.
not having enough parking spaces for all the cars is as plain as ateneo is
blue. parking at the drop off point where amiel was killed and beside the irwin theater are no longer allowed – all those cars that used to be parked there are now double/quadruple parked at the football fields and at the road beside katipunan road.
these parking spaces are always full. on top of the cars that are parked inside the white lines, are vehicles parked perpendicular to these cars on both sides of the road. it has now become more difficult and slower to pass through those roads. the double/quadruple parking now goes all the way past near the pedestrian overpass that crosses katipunan road.
amiel was killed as he crossed that road to reach their car which was parked at the drop-off area. the van that killed him was also parked there. the death was caused as small boys and moving vehicles were mixed in the same space. boys then were allowed to cross that drop off area in between cars that were parked or moving.
having not enough parking spaces based on comments from parents on this blog have been a perennial problem. some parents here have said CPRs have been bringing up that problem with ateneo school officials but obviously no action has been taken.
that problem still remain. i hope the ateneo admin know that. what this new traffic scheme did was it just moved the problem of lack of parking spaces from the old location to a new spot – from the drop off areas and beside irwin theater to the parking areas at the football fields and the road beside katipunan.
in other words and i hope it does not happen – what this new traffic scheme did is it removed the danger of an accident at the drop off areas but transferred it to the football field and road near katipunan parking areas.
AGS students do walk to those areas to ride into their cars. in that same area we still see AGS students mixed in the same space as moving vehicles, only in this space it is more crowded which makes it even worst.
we think there is unfinished business at the AGS parking lot.
“impossible traffic” was how one ateneo dad describes the traffic situation at the AGS. we concur.
it has now taken much longer, at around 2 to 3 times longer to get in and out of the ateneo campus in the morning during drop-off and most specially in the afternoon at pick-up. what used to be getting in and out of the ateneo from 10 to 20 minutes, it is now anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time. and that is just to get out and in to the AGS campus.
something is also wrong now at katipunan, on the approach to and getting out of the ateneo campus. traffic lines are now much longer, bumper to bumper and standstill traffic is more common. we wonder if the new traffic scheme implemented at the AGS is causing the traffic jam outside of ateneo. commuters and drivers along katipunan must now be fuming mad at ateneo.
pictures were taken on june 19, afternoon dismissal.
comments and suggestions posted here, to read, please click: http://wawam.wordpress.com/new-ags-traffic-scheme-comments-suggestions/
an ateneo mom sent us these pictures of the new traffic scheme at the AGS. read parents’ feedback on the new traffic scheme here: http://wawam.wordpress.com/new-ags-traffic-scheme-comments-suggestions/
Despite our appeals to Ateneo to do something RADICAL, it looks like they have chosen to implement something MARGINAL.
I downloaded and studied the staggered dismissal schedules that Ateneo Grade School posted on their website. Loooks to me like there is a typographical error in the post, because my Grade 4 son commented that Grades 6 and 7 will spend less time in school than Grades 4 and 5. He commented that it was unfair to him that his brother in Grade 7 will get away with less hours in school.
Either he is right or the posted schedule is wrong. Taking a look at the schedule, it can only be correct if they removed the period either for Intramurals or Co-Curricular Activity from the schedule for Grades 6 and 7. Please validate.
Given that the success of the scheme is hinged on fetchers picking up the boys on a staggered basis, Ateneo has to ensure that fetchers know what the correct dismissal schedule is. Relaying unverified or inaccurate information will turn the entire Katipunan into a traffic nightware, don’t you think?
I am disaapointed in the solution being presented now. I had hoped for a better quality solution. It seems to me that the Multi-Stakeholder Committee created their solution in a vacuum, ignoring all the comments and suggestions of well-meaning parents.
Oh well . . . we won’t know anything until we give the scheme a try.
we received an email that contains a traffic plan for the AGS. the email says this was developed by a group of professionals on design and safety – architects and engineers and was submitted to the multi-stakeholder committee for consideration.
this traffic scheme is very different from the one that is being implemented now which means this was not at all adapted by the committee.
Design and Safety Philosophy : Separate Pedestrian and Vehicular Traffic
The safety of the Children is the paramount consideration to the design of any Traffic Scheme for schools. The best way to achieve this is to follow the tried and tested standard of separating pedestrian streams with that of vehicular flows to minimize if not to totally eradicate accidents of Ateneo’s students—the children of the main stakeholders of Ateneo de Manila University.
1. Enlarged / Lengthened Waiting Areas.
The Waiting Areas (may be covered later) for fetching and dropping off students shall be lengthened by about 6 times the existing lengths. This shall discourage drivers from fetching and dropping off students in the middle of the road which may lead to another accident.
2. Central Waiting Area.
Pedestrian and Vehicular Streams should not cross as much as possible, therefore, a core shall be created making use of the Blue Eagle Gym, Irwin Theater and the Inner Driveway serviced by 2 Road Loops. The Inner driveway shall be used as a Holding Area where students can play safely in a gated (fenced) environment while waiting for their fetchers.
The Central Pedestrian / Waiting Area (where the current faculty parking is located) shall be connected to the Inner Driveway via the existing covered walkway from the Cafeteria or the existing open walkway (usually reserved for teachers only) through the Inner Driveway Courtyard where the statues of the Holy Family are located. From this Central Pedestrian / Waiting Area, students shall branch out to the Blue Eagle Gym, Irwin Theater and the Pedestrian /Waiting Area outside the Inner Driveway.
1. Gate 1 Entry.
From Gate 1, drivers proceed to Road Loop 1 and may drop off or fetch students along the lengths of Pedestrian / Waiting Areas A & B. They then exit through the Collector Road toward Gate 2-B or park their vehicles in the Parking Lots.
2. Gates 2 and 3 Entries.
From Gate 2, drivers proceed via Mastersons Drive to Road Loop 2 and may drop off or fetch students along the lengths of Pedestrian / Waiting Areas D & E. They then exit through Gate 2-B or Gate 3 or park their vehicles in the Parking Lots.
Drivers entering Gates 2 or 3 may also access Road Loop 1 via the Collector Road and may drop off or fetch students along the lengths of Pedestrian / Waiting Areas A & B. They then exit through the Collector Road toward Gate 2-B or park their vehicles in the Parking Lots.
3. School Bus.
School Buses may enter Gate 1, proceed to Road Loop 1 to drop off students along the lengths of Pedestrian / Waiting Areas A & B. They then proceed to the School Bus Parking via the Collector Road.
School Buses may also enter Gates 2 & 3, proceed to Road Loop 2 to drop off students along the lengths of Pedestrian / Waiting Areas D & E. They then proceed to the School Bus Parking via Mastersons Drive. Students are fetched by School Buses in their respective School Bus Parking slots along the lengths of Pedestrian / Waiting Areas C-1 & C-2 around the Blue Eagle Gym. Students walk to Pedestrian / Waiting Areas C-1 & C-2 without crossing roads / streets.
4. Faculty Parking.
Faculty Parking behind the Blue Eagle Gym and Parking of Administrators at the Inner Driveway shall be relocated to the rear of the Cafeteria where they walk through existing Covered Walkways at the side of the Cafeteria.
5. Fetchers’ Parking.
Existing parking for the general public shall remain. Access to these areas shall be via manned Pedestrian Crossings through Pedestrian / Waiting Areas D and C-1.
based on the latest traffic scheme released by the ateneo, the teachers’ reserved parking lot is still there and will not be moved elsewhere. that space could be used as exit for cars getting out of the congested parking lot. it will increase efficiency and safety for all.
removing that reserved parking lot and turning it to use for fetchers and students is also one of the unanimous suggestion of parents and even professionals/experts. we do not understand why ateneo is blind and insensitive to that improvement.
we think it is best to remove that reserved parking lot for teachers and transfer it to a much better location. transfer the reserved teachers parking lot behind irwin theater.
that area connects to the back of the AGS canteen and already has an existing passageway. it also puts it very close to the teachers dining are at the back of the canteen. walking distance for the teachers from their cars to the campus will be reduced dramatically making it easier and more convenient for teachers specially on rainy days.
ateneo should not stop at moving the parking area to the back of irwin theater which makes it very convenient and significantly helps traffic and safety at the AGS parking lot, ateneo should make the teacher’s parking lot at the back of irwin theater covered by a roof to protect their cars and the teachrs from the heat and rain. we think the teachers deserve to be treated better as well.
this suggestion is a win-win for everyone concerned – safer and more efficient for fetchers and students and more convenient for teachers.
we shared the above same suggestion in a yahoogroup of ateneo parents (234 members) and we got a reply from one of the ateneo parents:
yes!…. teachers come early in the earliest and leave last…. they are old
enough to cross the street or yes, they can take the back of Irwin theater for parking… a lot of parents i know feel the same way.
we thought that was an excellent point. we gave this reply:
you raise an excellent point – teachers arrive first and leave last. that is an excellent rationale for moving the reserved parking spaces from where it is now, beside the blue eagle’s gym.
since they arrive first and leave last, they are actually obstructing the flow of vehicles owned by thousands of students/parents/drivers who can use that prime real estate to exit the already cramped parking lot. freeing that space up for use of the thousands of students/parents/drivers will decongest the parking lot even faster and in effect have better safety for all.
moving their reserved parking spaces behind the irwin theater will be much better for them as it will be closer to the campus. they will need to walk a much shorter distance and that is good given the load of school things they have to haul from their cars to the classrooms.
that space behind irwin theater is unused. its a good idea to put it into good use for better traffic effiiciency, safer for our kids and more convenient for the teachers.
we also think ateneo should build roofs over the parking area for teachers for the comfort and protection of the teachers and theirs cars from heat and rain.
summer enhancement classes started today at the ateneo grade school. that is the official start of a new season at the AGS. we once again see boys at the school grounds and the cars that bring them to the school. they are not as plenty compared to regular school days, but it’s a good reminder of what happens in school.
we wonder what has happened to the unfinished business at the ateneo?
we have not heard anything from the ateneo on what they intend to do when classes start in june. pronouncement from the school said they will implement changes and improvements on traffic management and safety at the school but the parking lot of the AGS still look the same as previous. from the looks of the parking lot, it looks like nothing will change.
that worries me. not doing any changes in that parking lot can only mean the same dangers that were there last february continue to exist. didn’t the school learn its lesson from the tragic death of young boy at the parking lot last february?
rey canlas is not an ateneo dad nor is he an atenan. he is a lourdes school mandaluyong (LSM) dad and from UP and he posted in this blog when he read about amiel alcantara’s tragic death.
like many dads, moms and individuals, he was touched by amiel’s death. having a young son at LSM, he championed safety improvements at the shcool of his son. LSM school authorities responded positively. (read this here :
now, here is an update on what has happened at LSM. go to his blog and let’s post there and celebrate this good thing that has come out of amiel’s tragic death :
A PEDESTRIAN LANE… THANKS TO AMIEL!
I arrived almost past 9PM and as I entered the building, I saw newly made PEDESTRIAN LANE just in front of Lourdes School of Mandaluyong facing our residential building. It was still half-done but it made me feel happy. I got my phone and I took a photo of it. As I climbed the stairs to the lobby, I remembered AMIEL ALCANTARA, the 10-year old student who passed away almost a month ago at Ateneo Grade School.
I greeted the security guard whose name tag has the name, ALCANTARA. I then talked to him about the new PEDESTRIAN LANE and how important it is not just to the kids at our residential building studying at LSM but for all others who goes to the church and those who goes to work in nearby buildings who needed to cross the street with care.
Then, I thought of referring to his name tag and relating the discussion to AMIEL ALCANTARA and how instrumental he was for all the various safety enhancements and initiatives now being adopted by schools nut just elementary but also high schools and colleges. Manong Guard agreed. He heard about it and he was thankful as well.
It has been almost a month since the incident that claimed the life of this young boy took place but the lesson learned and the good things that this has brought to the society will always remain. I know that somehow, whenever I get to see the PEDESTRIAN LANE at Lourdes School of Mandaluyong, I will always remember the young boy that was AMIEL ALCANTARA.
we are all anxious to find out what has happened to the work of the AGS Multi-Stakeholder Committee.
let us send an email to this address: email@example.com, to find out what has been done and what they plan to do. aside from the announcement of the formation of the committee, we have not really heard anything else from the school about the work that has been done and what they plan to do.
let us let them know there is unfinished business at the AGS.
we should all send an email to make them understand that many parents are interested to know. please post here their reply to your email.
we were very impressed at the actions of bloggers and readers of this blog in their response to the call to place flowers and balloons at amiel’s shrine at the ateneo grade school parking lot. the number of responders exceeded our expectations.
- as of last night, at least 5+ responses were seen with fresh flowers placed on amiel’s shrine
- one left a toy remote control car on the shrine
- there were posters placed in the area
- from 6:30 am to 10 am this morning, 33+ cars with various offerings to the shrine were not allowed to enter the ateneo by the security guards
- there were also flower deliveries not allowed to enter the school
- the limousine of tony blair was diverted and did not pass in front of amiel’s shrine
doorknob, an author in this blog who asked readers to send flowers to the shrine wishes to thank everyone for their responses and support. we did not expect the responses will be that high given that the call was made only last friday and done only through this blog. getting that high a number to respond with action just goes to show there is a very strong desire to get the school to complete the unfinished business at the ateneo grade school. it also shows this blog has a core of followers who continue to have high interest on what happened to amiel and what still needs to be done at the ateneo.
together with doorknob, wawam.wordpress thanks everyone for their support.
we are posting here comments on this post:
I was at the Tony Blair lecture this morning, and the flowers placed on the area where the accident happened really caught attention. With a backdrop of a vast empty driveway, the spot adorned with all the beautiful flowers was really striking.
If indeed Tony Blair’s car was diverted in order not to pass the area, I’m sure it’s hard not to notice it as he was whisked away.
Also, the “refreshments area” was placed in the garden of Irwin theatre, and thus, was facing the driveway. It’s hard not to see the shrine and I’m sure people (Ateneans and visitors) saw it. If at all, it made people who saw it talk about the accident again.
There is, supposedly, a multisectoral committee created to study the recommendations of parents as regards the safety concerns of children vis a vis parking-traffic issue – is there an update on this? I’d like to be part of the consultation process, as this committee is supposedly mandated to do.
Grade 3 parent
one more comment:
i was at the irwin theater this morning. i am not from ateneo and was in a group of people also were not from the ateneo. we all looked at the shrine for amiel. the flowers caught our attention plus of course the shrine was plain to see. we talked about amiel and the accident. someone in the group i was with told me about this blogsite, that’s why i am here to read what’s in it.
congratulations to all of you – you have achieved your goal of people taking notice and talking about amiel because of the shrine.
comment from a concerned ateneo mom:
This morning, in addition to the remote control car, there was a pair of sunglasses in Amiel’s shrine. It is heartening to know that many still remember, and will not stop until direct action has been taken to address the tragedy.
Can we be updated on the multi-stakeholder committee that was supposed to decide on short/long term plans? Do we have any glimmer of hope that Ateneo officials are actually doing something?
Let us continue to move for radical change and let our presence be felt. The death of one innocent angel that is Amiel is enough!!!
“continue to push for radical change in completing the unfinished business at the Ateneo Grade School” -from a concerned ateneo dad
posted by a concerned ateneo dad as a reaction to this post “maglagay ng bulaklak, magsindi ng kandila at magtali ng blue & white balloons sa shrine ni amiel alcantara bago 10am, lunes, march 23” (click here: http://wawam.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/maglagay-ng-bulaklak-kandila-at-balloons-sa-shrine-ni-amiel-alcantara-bago-10am-lunes-march-23/)
Let’s support this move and start putting flowers on Sunday March 22 as early as in the afternoon. Ateneo will surely be closing down access in order to secure the site for PM T. Blair. Additionally, they would be most interested in preventing an embarrassment from the apathy and “unfinished business” demonstrated so far to the clamor for them to take responsibility for the safety and security of our children.
We all have to continue to keep the pressure on for RADICAL change. The status quo is unacceptable to continue to exist when school opens this June. By then, if nothing has changed, I suggest that stronger measures be taken against Ateneo in order for them to own up to their responsibility. Its uncanny that our children are being taught this in that school we send them to. Now is the time for that school to practice what they teach. There will no better lesson for the children if this school demonstrates the leadership and example of what they call themselves the Atenean: “The man for others”. Let this message not be lost in the bureaucratic apathy and cowardice that most institutions default as their comfort zone.
Since my proposal for volunteering experts to help in providing a solution has practically fell on deaf ears and has been ignored, I will bring my flowers to the shrine tomorrow as a persistent reminder to AHS that we continue to demand change, that we are watching, and will not forget their negligence.
from the ateneo dad who took these pictures. more on this is next.
view more exclusive pictures here: http://amielsfootprints.wordpress.com/