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.
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.
young writers win in the 2010 Palanca Awards – ateneo grade school student anton cabalza wins 2nd prize
Twelve-year old Anton Raphael S. Cabalza wrote an entry for this year’s Palanca Awards to make his summer break more worthwhile. Little did he know that his foray into the literary awards would make him the youngest contestant to ever win a Palanca.
His entry entitled “A Shot at Perfection” won 2nd prize in the Kabataan (Youth) Essay category participated by contestants 18 years old and below.
The Ateneo Grade 7 student, also the youngest member of Mensa Philippines in 2008 at 10 years old, said that this year’s environmental topic of the Kabataan Essay is something he feels strongly about: “The advocacy itself is something I consider supporting. As such, I felt the topic was something I could invest a lot of emotion and personal reactions in.”
It is certainly the season for young writers to win in Palanca as they also clinched coveted prizes traditionally dominated by more experienced writers. It is the first time that the competition has seen two teenagers win top prizes in the regular categories.
A sophomore taking up BA Political Science at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, 17-year old aspiring writer Miro Frances D. Capili won this year’s 1st Prize in the Kabataan Essay category and also the top prize at the regular Essay category. In 2008, Capili also won the top prize in the Kabataan Essay category.
For her Kabataan Essay-winning entry entitled “The Nature of Nurture,” Capili “thought of the moribund nature of environmental political policies and edicts, of how people have so little incentive to work for the environment. The Nature of Nurture aims to revive one’s inbred nature to nurture and put order to their surroundings.”
On the other hand, her winning entry in the regular Essay category entitled “Vinyl” is much more personal. Explained Capili, “Vinyl was a tribute to my father’s affinity for old things, particularly vinyl records. I’d say that one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from him was a respect for the past.” The essay began as a commentary on learning how to play vinyl records and from there evolved into a correlation between love and life.”
Capili admires the works of numerous writers like Annie Proulx, Roland Barthes, Albert Golbarth, Russell Banks among many others. A passionate young writer, Capili said, “We read to be reminded of every lilt and tug of the human condition. I believe that the best kind of writing is that which makes you tremble from either its excesses or its subtle affectivity.”
Another 17 year-old, an electronics engineering freshman at the Technological University of the Philippines-Manila, Christopher S. Rosales, not only won 1st prize in the Kabataan Sanaysay (the Filipino division for Kabataan Essay) category but also the top plum in the regular “Maikling Kwentong Pambata” category participated by all ages.
Rosales said that he intended to promote backyard gardening in his Kabataan Sanaysay entry “Gulayan Klasrum” because it will help the community. “I’ve always wanted to write about how we should be selfless about helping Mother Nature,” he said
Meantime, Rosales said that in writing his short story for children entitled “Si Berting, Ang Batang Uling”, he took inspiration from a dark-skinned classmate who is always the subject of jokes because of the color of his skin. He also made use of his fascination with the moon in his story.
A big fan of Filipino writers Edgardo Reyes, Ricky Lee, Lualhati Bautista, Eugene Evasco and Michael Coroza, Rosales said, “All my writings are based on real-life experiences. In my essay, I try to capture the emotions of the readers. In my short story for children, maybe it helped that I love to read children stories. I really don’t have experience in writing. I learned through reading.”
The interest of the younger generation to which Cabalza, Capili and Rosales belong is seen as key to perpetuating the literary tradition that has been in existence in the last six decades.
Cabalza said, “For me, the Palanca holds a unique significance for the youth who are right now at a stage wherein they are figuring out their paths in life. It can act as a tool of self-discovery, something that can guide us into finding our own meaning in life.
To this, Capili seemed to agree: “Reputable award-giving bodies such as the Palanca Foundation are necessary because young writers have much to learn from seasoned ones. Some writers need only an affirmation of their potential, often by means of receiving a coveted award, to begin taking writing seriously. For the past six decades, the awards have continuously motivated writers to work tirelessly at their craft, raising the bar of what is adjudged as ‘exceptional’ writing.”
Now on its 60th year, Palanca Awards has indeed been enriching the country’s cultural heritage by recognizing the best works from thousands of entries all over the country. What started as a small yet potent collection of six stories in 1951 has now grown into a wide and deep treasury of Philippine literature.
At present, the Carlos Palanca Foundation already has, in its collection, 514 short stories, 360 collections of poetry, 202 essays, 340 one-act plays, 176 full-length plays, 60 teleplays, 51 screenplays, 142 stories for children, 34 futuristic fiction stories, 71 student essays, 34 novels, and 10 collections of poetry for children. These works are compiled and made available to all researchers and lovers of literature at the Foundation library.
The collection of literary masterpieces include the works of Philippine National Artists for literature, namely Francisco Arcellana, Virgilio Almario, N.V.M. Gonzales, Amado V. Hernandez, Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Bienvenido Lumbera, and Edith L. Tiempo.
This year’s winners include:
1st – Kristoffer G. Brugada (Patikul)
2nd – Jerry B. Gracio (Magdamag)
3rd – No Winner
Dulang Ganap ang Haba
1st – No Winner
2nd – Liza C. Magtoto (Rated PG)
3rd – Christian R. Vallez (Kapeng Barako Club: Samahan ng mga Bitter)
Dulang May Isang Yugto
1st – Nicolas B. Pichay (Isang Araw sa Karnabal)
2nd – Floy C. Quintos (Suor Clara)
3rd – Allan B. Lopez (Higit Pa Dito)
1st – Christopher S. Rosales (Gulayan Klasrum)
2nd – Marianito L. Dio Jr. (Ang Aking Pangalan, Ang Aking Kababata at ang Mithing Tilamsik para kay Third)
3rd – No Winner
1st – Carlos M. Piocos III (Guerra Cantos)
2nd — Romulo P. Baquiran Jr. (Parokya)
3rd – Mark Anthony S. Angeles (Engkantado)
1st – No Winner
2nd – No Winner
3rd – Will P. Ortiz (May Puso Ang Saging)
1st – No Winner
2nd – Rommel B. Rodriguez (Toxic)
3rd – Thomas David F. Chavez (Sa Kabilang Lupalop ng Mahiwagang Kaharian)
Maikling Kwentong Pambata
1st – Christopher S. Rosales (Si Berting, ang Batang Uling)
2nd – Renerio R. Concepcion (Ang Kagilagilalas na Paglalakbay nina Mumo at Am-I)
3rd – Bernadette V. Neri (Parada ng mga Alingawngaw)
1st – Maria Clarissa N. Estuar (Ang Reyna ng mga Tumbong)
2nd – Ferdinand P. Jarin (D’Pol Pisigan Band)
3rd – Mark Gil M. Caparros (Sina Bunso at ang mga Batang Preso)
1st – Jay Crisostomo IV (God of the Machine)
2nd – Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza (The Encounter)
3rd – Lito Casaje (Shooting the Boys)
1st – No Winner
2nd – No Winner
3rd – Peter Solis Nery (The Wide Ionian Sea)
1st – Ma. Elena L. Paulma (Three Kisses)
2nd – Ma. Rachelle Tesoro (Waiting for Rain)
3rd – Catherine Rose Galang Torres (Café Masala)
Short Story for Children
1st – Irene Carolina A. Sarmiento (Tabon Girl)
2nd – Hiyasmin Ledi C. Mattison (Little Bear Goes Home: A Love Story)
3rd – Grace D. Chong (I am an Apple)
1st – Merlie M. Alunan (Tales of the Spiderwoman)
2nd — Rafael Antonio C. San Diego (My Name in Reverse)
3rd – Joel H. Vega (Latitudes and Other Poems)
Poetry for Children
1st – Duffie Alejandrino H. Osental (After the Storm and Other Poems)
2nd – Patricia Marie Grace S. Gomez (Poems from the Pantry and Prehistoric Times)
3rd – Ma. Celine Anastasia P. Socrates (Playgrounds)
1st – Miro Frances D. Capili (Vinyl)
2nd – Florianne Marie L. Jimenez (Postcards from Somewhere)
3rd – Corinna Esperanza A. Nuqui (Library)
1st – Miro Frances D. Capili (The Nature of Nurture)
2nd — Anton Raphael S. Cabalza (A Shot at Perfection)
3rd – Catherine D. Tan (Green at Heart)
Short Story – Cebuano
1st – Richel G. Dorotan (Si Tarzan)
2nd — Jonecito R. Saguban (Tinuboang Sapatos)
3rd – Noel P. Tuazon (Patas)
Short Story – Iluko
1st – Sherma E. Benosa (Dagiti Pasugnod ni Angelo)
2nd – Ariel S. Tabag (Voice Tape)
3rd – Joel B. Manuel (Apo Bannual! Apo Bannual!)
Short Story – Hiligaynon
1st – Andy P. Perez (Bayuso)
2nd – Ferdinand L. Balino (Dumdumon Ko Ang Imo Guya)
3rd – Jesus C. Insilada, Ed. D. (Walingwaling)
the ateneo grade school admin did the right thing when it took the initiative to delay by a few days the opening of classes of the grade school when it was found out some ateneo high school students had swine flu and classes were suspended for the high school boys for 10 days. we agreed that it was a smart move to err on the safe side.
however, a new development has occurred – there is talk that a whole section of grade school students were quarantined. the whole class was asked by the school not to go to school for a number of days presumably because member/s of the class had swine flu.
the AGS admin has not made a formal announcement on the matter. the information has been circulating among parents through text and yahoogroups only and no formal announcement by the school.
without a formal announcement from the school on the matter, this is just a rumor. if you are an ateneo parent wouldn’t you want this rumor confirmed or denied by the school?
announcement made at the ateneo website:
AH1N1 Update Advisory # 3
date posted: 2009-06-22 07:38:54
A student of 3-Sumakwel has been tested positive for the Influenza A[H1N1] last June 19, 2009.
Upon the recommendation of the VP for Planning and Administration, Dr. John Paul Vergara, and after his consultation with the DOH, the AGS will put the entire class of 3-Sumakwel on quarantine for 7 days starting Monday, June 22, 2009. They may go back to school on Monday, June 29, 2009.
As our infirmary personnel monitor developments among the students in this class, we urge parents of these students to feel at liberty to report to the school through the infirmary, any indications of flu in their children.
Meanwhile, revisions have been made to the AGS quarantine procedeure, reducing the length of quarantine from 10 days to 7 days. Please continue visiting the AGS web for possible updates in the protocol pending advisories from the DOH .
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.
if you find out you, your son or any family member of yours feel really sick. what do you do? if you think something is wrong in your health, like something about the heart. what do you do?
you see a doctor, in fact you see a doctor specialist. if it is your heart, you see a heart specialist. or if it is your child, a pediatrician.
if a grade 4 child dies in a vehicular accident at the parking lot of the school, what should school authorities do?
first, school authorities will want to know what happened in that accident and find out its causes. then you set out to find ways to improve safety at the parking lot.
it is common sense to conclude that since a grade 4 boy died at the parking lot of the school, there must be something wrong with the design of the parking lot and the traffic management scheme being implemented in the school.
or at the very least, you know you need to improve or make changes to the traffic scheme and design of the parking lot.
when it comes to designs of parking lots and traffic schemes, where do you go?
you go to architects, designers and engineers who are the experts on designing parking lots for safety.
did ateneo go to these specialists and professionals?
since no changes or improvements in terms of infrastructure or design have been done on the AGS parking lot, that tells you ateneo has not consulted the proper experts on the matter. if they did, it is certain there will be changes on the infrastructure design of the parking lot.
an architect and engineer works with physical designs and structures. ask their expert opinion and they will give you suggestions on changes to the physical design and structure.
we do not think that when ateneo asked architects and engineers on how to improve safety at the parking lot, they told the school just to apply fresh paint on the street crossings, conduct educational campaigns and re-write traffic rules and regulations in the school. the solutions architects and engineers think of are structural, physical in nature, not psychological and mental.
who did ateneo ask to develope ways to improve safety at the parking lot? priests? english teachers? school administrators? parents? will they be enough? are they the experts in the field of design for safety?
since ateneo DID NOT consult architects and engineers on how to improve safety at the ateneo and the parking lot looking exactly like what it was last school year, it only means one thing – the dangers and reasons that killed amiel are still present in that parking lot! the ateneo parking lot is awaiting it’s next victim!
Comment from an ateneo dad:
Well, it is still unfinished. But, we must impress on Ateneo and the multi-stakeholder committee that they need to work to implement the SAFEST plan and implement it now when they have the time to test and refine it before the real flood of students in June. Anything less would be abrogating their fiduciary responsibilities as 2nd parents to our children.
Let it not be that in their rush to “have something in time for June” that they forget the primary criteria of absolute child safety in any solution that materializes from the exercise that this committee has embarked on. Allowing for a less than 100% solution again would be abrogating their fiduciary responsibilities as 2nd parents to our children.
As parents and therefore stakeholders of this school, we need to be alert and ready to rally against a slipshod solution that is sold to us as being short-term and temporary. Such measures tend to be more haphazard, hazardous, and ineffective. And, in many cases, temporary solutions in systems tend to gain a life of their own and become dysfunctionally permanent.
This will bring us back to the same unsafe and possibly more hazardous conditions as where we are today. Ateneo should seriously hire and engage the proper professionals to develop the solution.
They cannot continue to use the reason that it will take too long to design and plan. This is well overdue and the execution of a proper plan should have been done as late as 10 years ago.
I believe parents andstakeholders are not just looking for any kind of solution. They want the Ateneo to do the right thing and to do it well especially in this case that it involves the life and safety of their children.
Nothing less would be the expectation from the school that teaches the way to HEROIC LEADERSHIP
reader comment posted here: http://tinyurl.com/dewmcm
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.