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 email@example.com 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.
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.
we like chiz escudero. we particularly like to hear him speak. he is the most eloquent of all the presidentiables specially in pilipino. you just have to bear and grin the monotone delivery and statue like poker face. but once you get past that this man makes a lot of sense. he also has his principles and priorities in the right place.
we are saddened that the NPC has abandoned chiz or that chiz abandoned the NPC. we think, as we have previously asked in this blog, chiz escudero’s run for the president is dead in the water with the most recent developments.
dead as it may be, we like to give him two options for a hail mary pass. one is a miracle, the other redemption.
read in full here: the 2 hail mary pass options for chiz escudero
we had 2 questions in our october 25 post in this blog (click to read) – will chiz escudero be orphaned? is his presidential bid dead in the water?.
the first question has been answered – he is now orphaned. on the second question, yes we think escudero’s run for the presidency is dead in the water.
amielsfootprints.wordpress photos used in abs-cbn’s TV Patrol World news braodcast – without permission
we were shocked to see photos we posted at our amiel’s footprints photoblog (click here to view: http://amielsfootprints.wordpress.com/) in tonight’s edition of TV Patrol World news program. we were shocked because we did know that abs-cbn and tv patrol will use them.
while they did not formally ask for permission to use them, they did declare on the photos used at the upper right hand corner the words “courtesy of amielsfootprints.wordpress.com”. the notation was prominent and could be read clearly so i guess that is okay.
we like to thank abs-cbn and tv patrol world for using them and for clearly identifying the source of the photos.
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.
an ateneo mom has sent us this link at the ateneo website on the new traffic scheme that
will be implemented at the AGS this june.
this is the link at the ateneo website: http://www.admu.edu.ph/index.php?p=120&type=2&sec=29&aid=6686
actually, it does not say much on what exactly is the traffic scheme. all it says is they have been working hard and that a lot of departments have been involved.
we are anxious to find out what this traffic scheme is. this is the unfinished business at the AGS.
posted in this blog by Solar:
AMIEL ALCANTARA – A MAN FOR OTHERS
The story of Amiel’s lending a helping hand to another student, his desire to play fair, and his being a boy scout speak of his selflessness. Amiel lived out the spirit of being a “man for others”. He is truly a blue eagle, NOT a blue vulture.
comment posted in this blog: http://tinyurl.com/qcynt5
here is one comment from an ateneo mom posted in this blog:
with “penny changes” at the ateneo parking lot, i think that amounts to ateneo ignoring the overwhelming sentiments of AGS parents. not only that, it seems the school trivialized the horrific accident that killed amiel alcantara in their parking lot.
i have re-read the comments of parents in this blog – specially those on their suggestions on how to improve safety in school. it is clear to see in those suggestions that the parents expect the school to implement what one parent calls “radical and significant changes and improvements” in the school’s traffic scheme.
with the pictures shown in this blog, it seems like no change to very minimal changes are being done at the parking lot, definitely something you cannot call “radical and significant”. that can only mean the school has ignored the sentiments of the parents.
i have talked to many other parents and even ateneo alumni like myself and all of them have said one of their top two concerns this coming school year is safety of their sons at the parking lot. (just like the survey in this blog)
from the ateneo website, i have also read the homily delivered by the jesuits during the masses for amiel. in there they mentioned how the whole community was touched by the death of amiel and how what happened has affected parents in the school.
there is a huge disconnect in what has been said to what they are now doing at the parking lots. implementing “penny changes” in the school parking lot is inconsistent with what the jesuits said they recognize to be very strong sentiments of the parents.
it is hard to understand how one can see penny changes as commensurate or being responsive to such strong emotions displayed by the parents.
one parent commented the jesuits are clueless and that they will probably not act on this. i agree with that comment.
comment posted here: http://tinyurl.com/pychoh
an ateneo mom sent us by email pictures of the changes that have been done and are being currently done at the ateneo parking lot at the grade school campus. the ateneo mom says her son took the pictures, a photo hobyist who studies at the ateneo high school. we like to thank the ateneo mom and her high school son for sending us the pictures.
these are pictures of 3 areas – the mcbo parking area for school buses, the parking lot by the side of the irwin theater and the main area where amiel was killed to death in a traffic car accident.
even if you add up all three – they are all penny improvements which we do not think amount to adding or improving safety in that parking lot. it does not cost a lot, that is obvious but neither does it amount to anything on improving safety in the AGS parking lot.
we understand and agree with the improvements at the parking area near mcbo. ateneo placed white cement line dividers to guide vehicles on how to park properly in that area. that is a good improvement.
that change will help improve safety for parked cars and will optimize use of space. it will also eliminate fights that sometimes erupts between drivers when vehicles are not parked improperly. however, from what we remember that area is mostly used by school buses. we are not sure how much that kind of change will enhance safety in that parking area. also, what about the other parking areas in the campus, those at beside the football fields?
the other area that has been changed somewhat is the parking area beside the irwin theater. the picture shows workings digging holes on that area. the ateneo mom who sent us the picture wrote that she thinks they will do what has been done to the main parking area where amiel died – place poles and ropes along the lane nearest to the curb. it’s hard to tell what it is for from the picture. based on the picture, it looks like they just started that this week.
the change at the main parking area where amiel died is also minimal. the only change we see there is that the lane nearest to the curb now has a rope running across the parking lot.
we do not know exactly what that is for, but the inner single lane can fit one car. it is possible they will allow cars to pass through that to probably pick up students who wait at that curbside. if we are correct about this, we predict humongous traffic on that lane as cars cannot exit that roped area, they need to wait for the cars in front of them to move and get out of the lane.
more importantly, the parking situation that got amiel killed continue to be there. there are no changes done to that 4 to 5 lane roadway where cars used to park and wait for students, exactly the same situation that got amiel killed on the same spot.
this is a puzzle for us. well, actually all three changes to us is a big puzzle. given the astronomical tuition fees paid for by parents to ateneo and the gravity of the death of amiel in that parking lot, ateneo is implementing penny changes to that parking lot where amiel died.
we think with penny changes, the dangers that killed amiel last february still exist.
has ateneo not learned its lesson for amiel’s death? is ateneo that calous to ignore and be deaf and insensitive to the sentiments of parents who want major changes in that parking lot?
with little, major or no change, ateneo sooner or later will need to talk to the parents about the new traffic scheme that they will implement next school year. when that happens, these are the important questions they need to ask ateneo (in no particular order):
- what caused the tragic accident that killed grade 4 boy amiel alcantara?
- how does the new traffic scheme prevent, minimize or remove what caused the tragic death of amiel?
- did the school consult professionals or experts on safety and traffic management? who are they? their credentials?
- did these professionals or experts design the new traffic scheme? how much involvement did they have in its development?
- how many traffic schemes were considered? why was this chosen? if only one was considered, why so?
- what does the school plan to do with amiel’s shrine?
- if the new traffic scheme has little changes from current, why is that so? how will the new traffic scheme improve safety in school when very little changes have been done?
- why is the school doing very little structural changes or additions to the parking lot? it stands to reason that physical barriers and infrastructure changes/addition will control traffic and improve safety significantly, why are there few or little changes?
- if few/minor changes and no/very little infrastructure changes/additions, it means the school did not want to spend for these things. is this true?
- what are the school’s plans for it’s security guards – they are too few and ill-trained for the task of improving safety and preventing traffic accidents.
- does the school plan to have its own ambulance? amiel was brought to the hospital through the kindness of another ateneo mom, that should not happen again.
- does the school have an emergency response plan/program? the amiel accident showed it did not have one.
everyone is welcome to add to this list, will post it here.
it is important to ask the tough questions as this concerns the safety of our sons at the ateneo parking lot. what happened to amiel was a very painful experience for all of us parents and our sons, the school needs to learn it’s lesson and seriously change things for the better at the parking lot. just to remind everyone that this is no small matter, the changes that they will do to the new traffic scheme will mean the safety or no safety of our sons at thee parking lot.
Were safety experts consulted by the AGS multi-stakeholder committee ? Ateneo parents should get more involved about the matter and not just leave everything to the committee. Or are most of them just indifferent ? Kawawa talaga si Amiel !
comment made by an ateneo mom: http://tinyurl.com/cgmldr
we do not know the composition of the multi-stakeholder committee. aside from the initial announcement that ateneo will be forming a committee to look into the safety at the parking lot, no other announcement was made by the school. we also do not know what work has been done.
but based on the fact that nothing new has been done at the parking lot, it’s either the multi-stakeholder committee has not done any work or they do not intend to change anything in the traffic scheme being implemented in the school.
the most logical of course is that they should have consulted experts on safety. we go to experts for specific problems beyond our own capabilities. as parents, we see doctors when our sons are sick. we consult lawyers if it is a legal problem. in this case, this is about safety in the parking lot, architects and engineers are the experts to go to.
did the committee consult experts and professionals? we do not know. but i suppose we will know very soon. it is reasonable to expect that the school will need to let parents know what their plans are. when that happens, parents need to be vigilant and ask all the right and yes, tough questions on what they want to do in that parking lot.
this much i can say — if there are no changes in that parking lot, the same danger that got amiel killed is still there. kawawa naman si amiel and the next child who will meet an accident there.
read about amiel alcantara in this blog : http://wawam.wordpress.com/category/amiel-alcantara/
we’re started a countdown, as of may 8:
- it has been 74 days since amiel alcantara’s tragic death at the ateneo parking lot
- and just 32 days till start of the new school year
and what do we have so far?
- short survey – too little, too late
- no updates or announcement on the work of the so called Multi-Stakeholder Committee that was supposed to develope safety measures at the parking lot
- no infrastructure construction work has been done at the AGS parking lot
- with no changes, the parking lot awaits it’s next victim
and yet at the ateneo grade school, our sons are automatically and quickly penalized if homeworks are not submitted on time or no homework is submitted. when our sons are late in submitting or do not submit homeworks, their grades for sure will suffer and can even get a failing mark.
AGS does not practice what it preaches?
the AGS has not learned a lesson from amiel’s death?
parents who have gone to the ateneo for summer classes and enrollment have reported the chaos and dangers remain at the ateneo grade school parking lot. the parking scheme has not been changed, the parking lot is full of parked cars in whatever space they can find, children and adults cross wherever they want and there are too few security guards to control traffic and safeguard pedestrians.
the volume of cars are fewer than on regular school days but the dangers are still there. why is the ateneo not doing anything to safeguard the sdafety of pedestrians in the school? have they not learned their lesson from the february 24 incident?
parents also have said there are no changes in that parking lot – it looks exactly the same as it was before last school year. no construction of any sort, and no changes on flow. with no changes from before, that can only mean the same dangers and risks that got amiel killed in february continue to be there. that means, that parking lot is waiting for its next victim.
this situation should not be tolerated by parents. it is the lives of their children, the lives of your yayas and even parents themselves that are at risk. parents need to speak up, and speak up now.