ateneo after-amiel

ateneo is in a real bind.    atenista the 10-year old 4th grader amiel alcantara who was killed in campus.   atenista rin  the kid(s?) of theresa torres na nakadisgrasya kay amiel.

of course obligado ang ateneo na alalayan both the family of the victim and the family of the victimizer.   the family of the precious amiel because, hey, what a terribly painful death and what a painfully grievous loss, which could have been avoided if ateneo’s traffic & sundo system weren’t so messed up.   the hapless single mother and her kids because, okay, it was an accident, malinaw na hindi sinasadyang matapakan nang mariin ang accelerator at hindi agad nakuhang mag-preno.

the ateneo community is clearly on damage-control mode.    official statements ask for prayers and privacy for the affected families pending an investigation.   an atenista blog prays for healing and asks that the community

… take a conscious effort of going beyond the graphic details of his death. While the tragic circumstances force us to focus on this aspect of his death, we also like to form a more optimistic image in the minds of many of our young impressionable students.

but how can healing happen if the community is asked to gloss over the graphic details of amiel’s death on grounds that negative images are not good for impressionable minds?   that’s like shifting to denial mode, escaping from reality, hardly behavior worthy of a highly regarded educational institution.

amiel’s family should not be expected to forgive and forget for the sake of ateneo and the community.   “malalim ang sugat,” said pepe alcantara on anc.   for such a wound to heal, both ms. torres and ateneo must pay.   it doesn’t help that ms. torres is out on php 42,000 bail.

ms. torres has finally apologized, and rightly so, but that does not make her any less blameworthy for amiel’s death and she must suffer the consequences.   kawawa naman ang mga anak niya, yes, but it’s no excuse to let ms. torres off the hook.   that would send the wrong message all around.  ateneo will just have to help the torres family deal with the situation.

the fact is, if ms. torres had behaved like a mother should, attending to her kid/s instead of taking the driver’s seat, the accident would not have happened.   there is also talk that she had a cellphone  in hand just before she accidentally stepped on the gas — if true, then this is a good time as any for a law criminalizing texting or phoning when one is at the wheel, if only within campus for starters.

as for ateneo, parents have long been concerned about the children’s safety but the admin has been deaf to complaints and petitions.   now they gotta pay.   besides settling with the alcantaras, it’s time to give up lots of nice openspaces to parking lots and, maybe, as an atenista mom suggests, make that entire area in front of the grade school a pedestrian area.

no room for evasion or ambiguity here.    amiel’s tragic death must be faced squarely or there will be no healing, and no end to the bad karma.


  1. charlie

    The Ateneo has for years turned a blind eye to the traffic they cause outside their fences, I’m not surprised it is now encouraging everyone to ALREADY take a “more optimistic image”. Reality doesn’t seem to be the Ateneo’s favorite topic, timely action is not their favorite recourse, so denial is not at all inconsistent with the school’s character. Their credibility as an educational institution of high regard is rightfully in question. No death of any child will shake them up into change I’m afraid. Just avoid driving there by not enrolling your child, or yourself, if only to save your hard-earned money for a more relevant and updated education, and save you and your children’s lives from freak accidents their inaction has caused. Let them not wash their hands simply because there is a clear “culprit.” The Ateneo administration is COLLECTIVELY culpable for ignoring their traffic problem. Any action they take now will be too little too late as it is done in the light of a child’s death. How do these educators think? What kind of education do they offer? How dare they charge parents an arm and a leg for their tuition!

  2. thanks charlie ;) i rarely need reinforcement or affirmation, but on this i’m glad to hear even just one agreeing with me, because it is no trivial matter and the way it is being handled should concern the entire ateneo community, not just the alcantaras.

  3. cesar santos umali

    there are just too many cars at the ateneo. i remember way back in the 60s, from elementary to college, riding in car was the lifestyle; having a car was the norm rather than the exception. But now, with the increase in population, there is just too much congestion.

    ateneo should encourage again schoolbuses or a masstransit system by carpooling or by encouraging the students to take public buses. i remember way back in the 60s, there was a public bus plying the school premises from major thoroughfares from metro manila.

  4. someone

    they DO encourage carpooling.
    however, parents will do what parents will do. do you think you can unilaterally dictate what these upper class parents should do? then you’ve never really dealt with an Atenean parent.

    maybe that IS the solution. to simply dictate. but yeah, that works really well in Philippine society. simpleng u-turn slot na nga lang, ang daming reklamo. pagbabawalan pa ang kotse mo sa loob.

    it’s always easy to blame the faceless organization. but in the end, it was a parent who killed the 10 year old boy.

    put blame where blame is deserved.

  5. dear someone ;) we agree, the parent who killed amiel deserves the blame. but so does ateneo because it allows itself to be intimidated by, as you say, upperclass parents who make reklamo about rules. ateneo should take the high ground, and parents who don’t like it should find other schools for their kids.