Home > Amiel Alcantara > traffic safety improvements at the AGS – too little and too slow

traffic safety improvements at the AGS – too little and too slow

email sent by bluegadfly for posting. posting it verbatim:


Two weeks after the incident, I still have to see signs that AGS is seriously committed to safety. Where are third party traffic safety experts – men/women with cameras, stopwatches, speed guns, distance measuring devices, weighing scales (for the luggage our sons carry everyday) etc.

The ingredients for an explosive mix are still there and these include

  • the sheer volume of cars entering the campus
  •  inconsiderate drivers (including car driving parents)
  •  guns (yup – guns). I bet you cars bearing the plate numbers 7 and 8 have at least one gun-totter inside. I’ve seen bodyguards with guns tucked in their belts in the past. Buti wala pang nababaril. Heaven forbid if it were an AGS student.
  • the heavy luggage that AGS students have to carry daily. These contribute to extended drop-off and pick-up times; and ultimately dangerous traffic practices. And who at the AGS has even considered the health and safety hazards of kids carrying luggage. Our children carry luggage for goodness sakes not school bags.

In two weeks, classes will be over, and AGS will be traffic-free once more. I do hope however that safety issues are not swept under the rug. Now is probably the best time to do something concrete while there is still human and vehicle traffic to observe (and may I say perform traffic/behavioral experiments on).

I have some ideas on my own but I would rather have safety experts come up with the necessary recommendations and measures.  I am too “parenty” to be objective ika nga. Like most parents, given the heavy luggage that my son carries every day – i’d like to drive him as close to the gate as much as possible. Unfortunately, all other parents think like me; and thus we become part of the problem – e.g. making “singit” there, jamming the road, having our blood pressures elevated, etc.

I do wish that Ateneo becomes a pedestrian campus and not merely pedestrian friendly (the latter connotes we have the coexist with huge volume of cars inside the campus). I really would not mind if the Ateneo population would walk more and drive less.

So what if it is sunny or rainy – hats and umbrellas have already be invented di ba? Heavy luggage in the guise of school bags would have to go though.

What happened to Amiel reflects a breakdown in AGS human/vehicle traffic management; and as such requires tough, technical, and objective measures only experts can provide.  Because of our affiliation to the AGS as parents/faculty/staff, I would say we are “not competent” to provide solutions esp if these solutions require some behavioral modification on our part.


  1. ateneo alum
    March 11, 2009 at 10:14 am

    they don’t HAVE to carry it around. not all the kids bring checkin size luggage to school.

    • March 11, 2009 at 10:25 am

      yes they do have to carry it around. how else will they bring their books and stuff to/from the classroom?

      the kids don’t drag those bags around for fun. in fact what they do is once they get to the parking areas, they leave it there and they go some place else to play while waiting for their ride.

  2. ateneo alum
    March 11, 2009 at 11:36 am

    i attended AGS. we had lockers back then. not for all year levels though. you DON”T have to bring everything.

    the big bags are status symbols. you may acknowledge it or not, but I know what i’m talking about. I have a 10 year old nephew in the 4th grade. the bag he has is humungous but it’s the one he wants because everyone in his barkada has the same one. i know this because he SAID SO.

    as parents, it’s your job to SAY NO.

    for crying out loud, stop blaming others for what you can so easily do something about.

    • March 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm

      the problem is not he size of the bag, the problem is the weight of the things that need to be carried.

      so if your nephew uses that big bag with very few books inside, then you are right – it’s a desire to be like the other boys.

      that is not the case for my son. my son’s bag is full of books, notebooks, school supplies and snacks.

      at the start of the school year, i had bought my son a backpack. he used the backpack only for a week, he asked that he use a roller bag he used two years ago. the books and notebooks were just too heavy for him to carry on his back using a backpack.

      • ateneo alum
        March 12, 2009 at 7:43 am

        i’ll agree with you on that. there’s too much homework being given. there should be no need to shuttle the books back and forth.

        but this seems like blaming the butterfly in China for the hurricane in New Orleans. big bag or not, the primary issue was parental recklessness.

        this is not the first time that parental excesses have intruded into the school life of a child. remember the road rage incident? why are we so insistent on finding such complicated causes when the simple cause stares us in the face?

        or maybe we all don’t like what we see when we look in the mirror. and as such we are motivated to blame somebody else for our own shortcomings.

        yeah! blame ateneo! they’re a faceless, money-grubbing corporation! doesn’t matter that personal responsibility would have prevented this whole tragic affair!

        maybe, just maybe, if we all treated each other with respect. and if we treated the other kids as we want our kids to be treated, we wouldn’t have a whole blog devoted to this.

        just. MAYBE.

    March 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Two weeks after the accident, and Ateneo hasn’t done ANYTHING SERIOUS to address our concerns regarding our sons’ safety on campus. I have only seen one change — that there are more security guards along the driveway and that one of them is assigned to monitor the pedestrian lane from the covered walkway to the Blue Eagle gym.

    I have heard of, BUT NOT SEEN, the volunteer traffic marshalls composed of parents and school administrators. To avoid the traffic in the driveway, I pick up my boys 45 minutes after the dismissal bell. This probably explains why I have not seen the marshalls. Maybe they are there immediately after the boys are dismissed, so okay . . . let us count this in as a second change, with a disclaimer that the marshalls are on duty only immediately after the dismissal bell.

    I was in the driveway when Amiel was hit by the van. It was possibly 4:10 pm on Tuesday, Feb 24th. The boys were dismissed at 3 pm that day . . . It happened an hour after dismissal, when the driveway traffic had dissipated and the guards were all goofing around ignoring the pile up of cars that had parked inside the cordoned lanes. (Anyone who picks up boys along that driveway will know what I am talking about).

    Obviously, the accident would still have happened if on Feb 24th, the traffic marshalls left their posts at 3:45 pm. The idea of traffic marshalls may be a great PR idea, but it does not even consider the circumstances surrounding Amiel’s accident.

    As parents, we should not relent in our campaign to get Ateneo to take more drastic measures to make our children safer. It is insulting that Ateneo has chosen to ignore our collective appeals for them to improve their traffic system in direct relation to our children’s safety. Throwing in more security guards and getting parents to volunteer are a good start . . . but as I read somewhere in the blogs . . . where are the experts and their timers and their video cameras? How can we come up with a solution if we don’t take the pains to correctly define our problem — with parameters that are measureable.

    It is obvious to me that more security guards and traffic marshalls aren’t enough to prevent a repeat accident. Why isn’t it obvious to Ateneo?

    Their half hearted attempt to address our concerns with these improvements — obviously without the input of safety professionals — triviliazes the death of Amiel Alcantara. As an Ateneo parent, I am not about to be pacified by Ateneo’s lame-brained answer to all of us.

    • March 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm

      i have seen the Safety & Traffic Marshals. you are right, you probably did not see them because you come in late to pick up your son. i suppose they are there at peak times.

      an ateneo parent sent me pictures. i will post here later.

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