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.