Home > Amiel Alcantara > an ateneo mom’s reaction to the Amiel tragedy

an ateneo mom’s reaction to the Amiel tragedy

I just feel like I have to tell my story to let out the pain, the sadness, the anger and the guilt! . .
I was in the Ateneo Grade School (AGS) cafeteria yesterday with my Gr.3 and Gr.1 sons waiting for the dismissal of my Gr.5 son.  We were eating, doing HW and enjoying each others company.  I glanced to the Purefoods Hotdog counter and noticed some Gr.4 and Gr.7 boys fooling around while buying their hotdogs. 

It was 4:15 pm and my sons and I decided to head out to the car to wait for my other son in the parking lot.  As we walked out past the lady guard there was a commotion in the AGS driveway right beside the covered walk-way fronting the bulletin board. 

We ran and saw a lanky body full of blood all over his head being taken away to the hospital in a van.  His blood was on the ground and a foot long hotdog had fallen on top of the blood.  We were thinking could one of those boys we just saw minutes earlier been the boy taken away?

Many of the admin, students, teachers, parents and drivers were crowded around the scene. When I asked the driver beside the accident what happened he said a mother in a van asked her driver to get down from their car to fetch her son.  Then she took the wheel of the car. 

This part is fuzzy, but apparently the mom accidentally stepped on the gas pedal and hit Amiel Alcantara of 4- Manobo. (We’re not sure if, as she was moving her car forward to an empty space, she accidentally pushed the gas pedal hard instead of the breaks.)  Amiel and his yaya seemed to be just passing by in between the cars to get to their own car (like we all have done).  The mom hit Amiel so hard he fell to the ground and the yaya got struck in the leg or foot but is now ok with minor injuries daw.  The mom hit two cars in front of her too. 

I saw the scene and honestly there is no way the boy could have gotten out.  He was sandwiched between 3 cars that were left inches apart, he was pulled from under the cars. 

So the mom hit Amiel and the 2 cars in front of her and those 2 cars hit 2 more cars in front of them shattering the back window of one of them.  It was an unbelievable scene, the impact was so strong.  It was dismissal time so all the cars were parked on the AGS driveway within the 3 lanes alotted for standyby parking right beside the covered walk-way.  

The mom had no car behind her, she must have just moved her car forward talaga and accidentally hit the gas pedal really hard. The mom practically fainted and was taken to the infirmary in a stretcher.  I feel for her.
My boys and I got so close to the scene and saw the blood and the chaos.  And now looking back, maybe I shouldn’t have let my 7yr old and 9yr old see so much up close, but we all just gravitated to the scene. 

Later that evening when we learned that Amiel had passed away, my boys got so scared and clung to me like glue.  They couldn’t sleep and my 9yr old even had nightmares shouting out something about “cars” . . .

So of course we are all deeply saddened by what happened.  I felt so much pain and couldn’t stop crying and kept telling myself that it was such a “freaky accident” that it could have really happened to anyone of us!!! 

I also asked God what was the message and meaning in it all?  We prayed for Amiel, his Gr.7 brother Avie, the Alcantara family and the family of the mom, Ma. Theresa Torres. 
I am still crying when I think about what happened but I am also angry and guilty as well.  Angry because I see the root of the whole problem stems from the perennial PARKING AND TRAFFIC PROBLEM in the AGS

I have been a parent in the AGS for only 6 years and I have seen the problem worsen in the past 2 years.  As a current CPR for my Gr.3 son I felt it was our duty to voice out our opinions and offer solutions to this problem in the beginning of the school year.  If you can recall,  this was an issue earlier this school year with the incident between the “gun-toting dad vs. the pushy mom!”  And yet our voices fell on deaf ears. 

Their problem may have been resolved but the parking and traffic problem was not.  We are all still scrambling to get our boys in and out of the campus, it is never a pleasant experience.  I even learned that the MMDA was heavily trying to offer solutions and suggestions but the Ateneo Admin would barely budge, if at all. 

The MMDA wanted Ateneo to open up the sides of the soccer fields for temporary parking to accommodate the 5,000 cars that come, go, park, standby etc. in the AGS DAILY!!  Can you imagine 5,000 cars all at one time in and out of a 2 lane village?!  What a nightmare!  The MMDA got involved because the Ateneo was causing tremendous traffic on Katipunan and beyond!  At first I thought sayang naman our prestine soccer fields.  But come to think of it, is a good suggestion.  Another suggestion was to create a fly-over from Katips to enter Ateneo, but it’s too expensive I guess.  One other solution was to build a multi-level parking area like in the International School.  It seems this would be practical to meet our needs as a University.  Better yet another suggestion was to open up the 300 parking spaces of the Ateneo Conservatory for temporary parking!! . . . Haaay I could go on and on . . . . .

So this is where my guilt comes in because I wish I had pursued these issues, but heck, who am I?  Now yes I do agree with (name) and many others that WE ALL MUST write our school and our teachers to address our issues. 

We cannot let the soul of Amiel die in vain.  I know that God must have wanted Amiel badly to take him so suddenly but God must also be telling us to start taking an active role in ensuring the safety of our children’s environment.  We MUST be “productive” and not a hindrance to the problem by offering our “voices,” following the rules, and helping where ever and whenever we can.  We all must be ONE in this cause.  So let’s not put blame in any of this but instead help it to move forward for the betterment of all . . . especially for the love of our children!

Thanks for listening, this is just my two cents worth.   Let’s continue to pray for the Alcantara and Torres families.  Amiel’s body is now in the AGS chapel until Saturday.  Mass will be held Wednesday to Friday 6:30am and 7:00pm.  Last mass before the burial is this Saturday at 11:00am.  May God Bless us all.

  1. ateneo alum
    February 27, 2009 at 8:53 am

    this is truly a sad, tragic event.

    but let’s be clear on one thing.

    the problem is NOT lack of parking.
    Ateneo is NOT obligated to provide a parking space for every boy who attends Ateneo.

    THINK ABOUT IT.
    how many boys are there in the GS? 4000?
    say each car takes on average 2 boys (which i think is pretty high).

    How will you provide 2000 parking spaces in the space that we have?

    Ateneo is a school, NOT a mall.

    the solution is to bus the kids. that’s right. school buses. carpools.

    it’s not enough to cry out to the world, “we should solve the parking problem!”

    there’s a parking problem because there ARE TOO MANY CARS.

    • Sam
      March 3, 2009 at 1:55 am

      Dear Ateneo Alum,

      Yes, it is the responsibility of the school to ensure a safe environment for the kids. While there are too many cars, Ateneo must take steps to avoid accidents which have been occuring at an increasing rate (including altercations!).

      Take the case of Xavier School: the school decided to put up a parking building for its employees. It got Barangay Tanods to facilitate the flow of traffic day in and day out. Traffic around the school is so smooth now! Ateneo should not be so proud (proud people often fall) and just learn how to become better by humbly asking others for advice.

  2. Ryan Ericson Canlas
    February 27, 2009 at 9:32 am

    I came from UP and not from Ateneo and I am a father as well but my son is not an ATENISTA but from Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. I write because what had happened to AMIEL was something that made me realizes a lot of things not just about the incident but about FATHERHOOD.

    The story focuses on AMIEL’s FATHER as well as a FATHER & SON school activity has been nearing. We as fathers may not at all be so showy and emotional to our sons because of being pre-occupied with our roles as providers and heads of our families but then this has made me re-think that our focus no matter what should always be with our kids – with our family.

    Each day counts. I often would kiss my son and tell him how I love him being the only child. I could just imagine how painful it is for AMIEL’s FATHER to have bid farewell to his son after breakfast as a normal daily routine without expecting that moment was their last. I cried while driving home.

    I must have heard the news late but I cannot stop thinking about it. Imagine a school so expensive where you expect that traffic enforcers are regulating the flow of vehicles because kids from known and from ordinary families are around the place which they have to protect, but then there is none.

    I have not heard in any of the news article about the school having its own ambulance or experienced in-house medics attending to the need of the child. It was the lady whom we all do not know who volunteered to help the child and the driver to take them to the hospital.

    Worse is that as mentioned, no one even wanted to open their doors for the driver who was walking and carrying the bloodied child for help. It is sad. Imagine how people can be heroes in the split of a second and how some chooses to be numb and careless. Why? Is it because they do not want to stain their nice car’s interiors? Too bad.

    I do not intend to blame or raise issues here. The point here is that all we all as parents are responsible for our kids. More so, as drivers, we too are responsible to ensure that we maintain safety and caution. Now, we can never revert things back. We need to move forward and learn from this. AMIEL’s life has a good purpose indeed and that is to awaken us all about safety, care, time and love for our kids.

    As I reached home, I asked for my son. He was playing hide and seek with me as usual. I search all the possible hiding places until I found him. I never asked him about his school works or about what news on BANDILA as he is fond of watching news. No words were said… I just hugged my son so tight and kissed him so many times as tears fall.

    I love my son and I would not want such thing to happen to him even when he is already old and on his own. Thus, as I write this, I am writing to the officials of Lourdes School of Mandaluyong as well to improve pedestrian safety and proper parking regulations and perhaps put PEDESTRIAN LANES and MARKINGS along SHAW BLVD. and in front of CITYLAND SHAW TOWER to ensure safety.

    Thank you AMIEL for waking us up. You will forever be remembered in our hearts.

    RYAN ERICSON CANLAS
    SAP Practice Manager – SAP COE
    International SAP BASIS Consultant
    ryanericsongcanlas@yahoo.com

  3. February 27, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Amiel’s mom is my friend. She is a very active parent and dotting mother. Her eldest son in 4th year was a classmate of my son from Prep to Grade 2 and they were in a block section. I saw the commotion and my driver said it was a grade 4 student. I kept praying that the boy reaches the hospital in time. Later in the evening did I hear that it was Melanie’s. Both my husband and I are so depressed. Lesson learned? We should never get the wheel from our driver most especially when we do not know how to drive. A few meters of walking won’t hurt our kids so she shouldn’t have moved the van forward. It also gives me the impression that Mrs. Torres didn”t want to walk and look for her son either. Also the faculty parking should be open to leaving vehichles to avoid traffik. Let the teachers park elsewhere and let them walk too. After all, it’s the students who are the ones paying them so they should be more student friendly.Safety should always be a primary consideration. With the rates we are paying on car stickers and tuition, it should be worth it. Come to think of it, it is lazyness that is the root of all these. If Mrs. Torres had the energy to look for her own son,if her intention of moving forward was to shorten the distance of her own son’s walk to her van and if only the faculty parking were free to leaving vehicles to lessen the traffik and open the space for leaving vehicles, Amiel could have still been alive. But of course, there must be a reason why all these things happened. I feel that we should all walk for this cause to awaken everyone to be more cautious and responsible. Let’s not be lazy. I feel for the loss of the family. I also feel for Mrs. Torres and how she will be able to face the family and tell what really happened. I hope she has the strength to say sorry. A friend told me, “ang graduation parang kinakasal mainit sa aksidente.” Amiel was not graduating but two of his brothers are. Fourth year and grade seven. It would have been a wonderful celebration if he were around. To Melanie and Pepe, be strong for the days ahead will surely be rough. You still have three more children to look after. God will get you through this. A lot of people are praying for you and your family.

  4. SuperNova
    February 27, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I try my best to pick up my 7-yr. old son every morning myself. That pick-up area is not much for pick-up but more a huge monster waiting for the right opportunity devour itself and who or whatever is withing the perimeter.

    It’s kinda like the scenario in EDSA when buses take up most of the lane when trying to pick up or drop off passengers. So, just imagine the EDSA scenario, right inside the Ateneo campus.

    At isa pa, delikado talaga yung lugar kung saan sinusundo ang mga bata. First day pa lang sa Prep ng anak ko napansin ko na ‘yon. That area is an effin’ nightmare.

    Kaya nga, what I would do is bring his yaya along with me and park somewhere else na lang, which I think is a safer alternative than having your son and his companion weave around slowly moving traffic while desperately trying to find their sundo.

    Btw, what’s that about the gun-toting dad and the pushy mom? Haven’t heard of that?

  5. February 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    i also have 3 boys in AGS.my eldest is avie’s classmate now in 7kostka.my wife and i are also having difficulty sleeping after knowing this tragedy.we feel we lost one child too.and i know you as parents feel the same way too.
    yes,we have to actively participate and demand a dialogue with the admin to discuss the traffic/parking/dismissal area concerns.let us not put amiel’s demise in vain.we have to do something about this.

  6. nanay
    February 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    This tragic event should be an eye opener to all schools in the Philippines. I noticed na ang school basta uwian na, wala na silang pakialam sa mga bata lalo na kung nahawakan na ng yaya o magulang kahit na nasa loob pa ng school. Kahit sa mga parking lot ay wala man lng naka pwesto na guard para magbantay at e-ensure ang safety ng mga bata. At bakit nga ba ang mga teachers e priority pa ng mga school na mag park sa loob ng paaralan samantalang tayong mga magulang ang nagbabayad ng mga napakamahal na tuition fee. Dapat siguro ay maiparating natin ito sa DECS at isama nila sa kanilang pagsusuri sa mga paaralan na maayos ang parking lot at flow ng traffic sa bawat paaralan.

  7. the observer
    February 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Let the teachers park elsewhere and let them walk too. After all, it’s the students who are the ones paying them so they should be more student friendly. – now this is just classic. typical palengkera. it was you who chose ateneo not them choosing you. you “blame” because you can’t do anything about it anymore. just to react. you are picking on petty things. you even tell of “lessons learned”. haha. shut your pie hole. you are not offering any solution. should ateneo have all of it’s students take a “shuttle bus”, would you agreed if it that accident happend to Amiel?

    don’t desecrate the boy’s accident with your false concerns.

    • Chris
      March 3, 2009 at 2:04 am

      I agree. Many people are choosing Ateneo, wanting to get in in spite of the knowledge that their kids will be subjected to harm. Ateneo did not choose them; they chose the school! They should have chosen another school. There are other schools around!

  8. chris
    February 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Sorry but I think AGS should work on a school bus system. It’s safer for the kids, really. You subject kids to moving vehicles and stressed-out drivers, there’s bound to be trouble.
    Also, Amiel paid a price for our car-crazy culture. Shame that it had to be him.

  9. mean
    February 27, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    i think responsible ng ateneo yan or kahit U.P. or lourdes school of mandaluyong p nag aaral ang anak natin,,, hindi lng dapat Mall ang may wastong parking lot ” kung parking lot pag uusapan ” sa isang school obligasyon nila na safe ang mga student nila

  10. jonas
    February 28, 2009 at 12:35 am

    mas nakakatakot yun sa school bus… imagine iiwan mo yun anak mo sa isang driver na hindi mo kakilala…. isasakay mo siya sa isang sasakyan na di mo alam kung properly maintained… paranoid kung paranoid…. ikaw iiwan mo ba anak mo sa school bus?… iisa lang ang driver at isang conductor… na inaalagaan ang 12 or more na bata…?

    sumunod na lang sa MMDA…maski hindi ako fan ni Bayani… mukhang tama ang MMDA…. ang laki laki ng football field.. dala dalawa… ilipat yun parking ng mga teacher. may lugar naman sa loob para sa mga teachers.. kung ikaw ang magulang saan ka mas matutuwa… may lugar na safe ang parking at magagamit mo… o isang malaking football field na di mo naman ginagamit….

  11. jonas
    February 28, 2009 at 12:51 am

    pustahan tayo… after 3 weeks.. kapag wala na ang media hype.. kapag may bagong istorya.. kapag nakalimot na tayo… balik impiyerno na naman tuwing dismissal time sa loob ng ateneo… wala silang pakialam … mas importante pa sa mga paring yan kung paano mag increase ng tuition fee…

    maraming nasulat na tungkol kay amiel… pero… sa tinging ko… masaya na siya … kasama na niya ang ating dakilang may likha.

    sino sa atin ang nakaisip sa mga anak ni mrs. torres?… paano na sila?

  12. Stan
    February 28, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Jonas

    “sumunod na lang sa MMDA…maski hindi ako fan ni Bayani… mukhang tama ang MMDA…. ang laki laki ng football field.. dala dalawa… ilipat yun parking ng mga teacher. may lugar naman sa loob para sa mga teachers.. kung ikaw ang magulang saan ka mas matutuwa… may lugar na safe ang parking at magagamit mo… o isang malaking football field na di mo naman ginagamit….”

    Maraming eskuelahan malapit sa SM north. at matutuwa sile sa multilevel parking ng SM kung ito ang habol nila.

    • jonas
      February 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm

      stan…..

      “Maraming eskuelahan malapit sa SM north. at matutuwa sile sa multilevel parking ng SM kung ito ang habol nila.”

      Papano pumapasok ang mga anak mo? … naglalakad??

      so ibig mong sabihin… okey lang makipagpatintero ang mga bata sa gitna ng kalsada tuwng dismissal time?… nakita mo na ba yun 5 lane loading and unloading zone sa tapat ng AGS, tuwing dismissal time… lahat ng tao nagmamadali…

      sa mahal ng car sticker 600 pesos 1st 2 cars then 1000 pesos suceeding cars… at sa mahal ng tuition… ang mga bata ay entitled sa isang safe na paaralan….

      oo nga no!!! tama ka.pala… . saan school nga na malapit sa SM north ka nag graduate? baka lilipat na rin ako….

      PEACE!!!

  13. Ann Miranda
    February 28, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Hi, I have followed through the Amiel tragedy from day 1, the hour after the accident happened. The guards were mum on what happened, the vehicles were still around, the parents who owned the vehicles, the blood that was below the vehicles, the hotdog, the headband of the yaya and her fan beside the pool of blood….
    upon doing my own investigation, I was able to piece the scenario when one of the teachers informed me that the boy has just died. My first reaction was to look for a candle and place it in the bloody spot. I found a candle from the men at the blue eagle gym. and asked the others parents to pray with me for his eternal repose…..
    From that time on till today, lots of candles have been lit and flowers placed. What is most touching is that a lot of people, school kids, moms, dads, yayas and even drivers stop for a brief moment and offer their prayers…the Lord is bombarded with prayers for Amiel and his family and friends…..but for Mrs. Torres, she too needs prayers…

    Anyway, the afternoon it happened, I was in the soccer field where my son and his team were training. You see, they are the RIFA gold medalists, the Alaska Cup Champions, the NCR champions and soon they will represent Metro Manila in the Pambansang Palaro. Removing this training ground to make as parking is a no-no……is the the breeding ground for champions and future champions

    I believe a multi-level parking is the solution . Also, dismissal time should be staggered.

    • jonas
      February 28, 2009 at 10:53 pm

      ok.. sige na nga… duon na lang sa likod ng lee irwin theater … at gawin 2 rows of cars around the football field… hehehehe… yun eh kung makakahirit lang…

  14. rina
    February 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    yes, i agree with jonas.

    “sino sa atin ang nakaisip sa mga anak ni mrs. torres?… paano na sila?”

    just like the alcantara family, they too are victims. mrs. torres is a single parent, and base on the news, she’s the sole bread-winner, raising her 2 (or 4?) kids.

    i’m sure mrs. torres grade 4 son is also traumatized. how will a young boy come to school and face everyone else when everyone knows – his mother was the cause of his batchmate’s tragic death.

    let us pray for the alcantara and torres’ family that they may be able to overcome this very tragic incident.

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