Skip to main content

Death on a schoolday

I was in Cebu for a meeting when I heard about the tragedy that befell Ateneo grade school pupil Amiel Alcantara on the school's parking lot last Tuesday. The boy was run over by a van driven by woman who was picking her son from the school. The boy was declared dead on arrival in a nearby hospital. The tragedy was made even more disturbing because it was witnessed by the boy's siblings and the nanny who pushed the other kids from the rushing van. She was also injured.

The incident brought back memories of a loss we experienced 30 years ago in March 1979. One of my classmates named Renato drowned in a friend's pool on his birthday. The death was an accident and my whole elementary school was in shock. The teachers had to go on counselling mode and they told the children that no one wanted this tragedy and that it was an accident. No one is to blame not even the kids who attended the birthday party. The teachers said that the best way we can deal with it is to learn from the tragedy. If so Renato's death would not have been in vain.

But that tragedy is not comparable to what befell Amiel Alcantara. The pain would have been immense for the boy's family and the family of the woman who ran him down The woman's son was in the same grade as Amiel was. Was it really an accident waiting to happen?

When the grieving is over and all have to move on, the search for an answer to the boy's father's question

“Hindi ko matugma ang dahilan kung bakit sa isang lugar, sa isang ina, at isang pagkakataon ay mangyayari iyon."

I cannot seem to piece together the reasons why it had to happen at that time at that place, involving a mother like her.


The question is unanswerable except in the silence of reflection and remembrance.

But Ateneo de Manila will have to determine if its parking and traffic policies are wanting. For one thing there is a perception that there are too many cars allowed in campus. The campus does not have that much road space. In other countries, cars are restricted near primary schools. Many children commute to school on school buses. Also traffic stops when kids get on or off the bus.


Popular posts from this blog

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.