Yesterday, we published the much-talked-about color-coding scheme that the Ayala Alabang Village Association is about to impose on the non-resident students of De La Salle Santiago Zobel, starting on February 2. We posted a link to the story on our Facebook page, and immediately people offered their opinion about the issue. We've collated what we feel are the most sensible comments--both for and against--and are sharing them with you.
Randy Kanapi - For the record, not all residents of Ayala Alabang Village are in favor of the color-coding. As a matter of fact, I believe it is just a minority. I, for one, reside in the village, and as an alumnus of DLSZ and having a kid who studies in DLSZ, I strongly oppose this untimely scheme. DLSZ has come up with solutions to reduce traffic. You can’t move near a school and not expect to have some form of traffic. I know residents near DLSZ who don't complain. Eventually, the school does need to look into its student population. Such a scheme to me is bordering on being elitist. With a couple of months left, why not wait for the school year to end so as not to inconvenience the students and the parents. Then have a proper forum.
Jose Palanca Pleno - I actually don't have any problem with the amount of cars coming in. Driving your kids to school feels safer than making them carpool. The only problem I have are the people driving them. I live on the corner of University Avenue and Madrigal, basically the entry point of De La Salle Zobel. These people don't even have the decency to give way for homeowners to get out of their garage. It takes me a good 10-15 minutes to just get out of my gate and onto the main road. If they can follow rules of the road, right of way, and simple no-parking signs, I don't think this would've been a problem in the first place.
Francisco Aromin - Full disclosure: I work for DLSZ, I have a kid in DLSZ, and I am an alumnus of DLSZ. I'll admit traffic definitely has gotten a lot worse since the ’90s. But that's probably true for every other school. The fact that there are no more school mini-buses that can seat 30 kids made it worse (most use vans that seat only 10 to 12). But with all the adjustments DLSZ has implemented this year, it has gotten much, much easier to get in and out of the school, and I come in at almost peak time (7:00am to 7:20am). That's why it's strange that the village officials have not seen this and have decided to implement this scheme at the tail end of the school year.
Spanky Enriquez - Bravo, Ayala Alabang, bravo! Your impromptu color-coding scheme is as impractical as those gates that have been put up (and permanently locked) on the corners of the streets leading to San Antonio Village in Makati.
Janlo Nunez Cui - Seriously, AAVA?! Convenience over safety? What about the safety of our children? How do kids enter AAV on their coding days? They get dropped off at Alabang Town Center? So you eliminate the traffic in your village but transfer it elsewhere? Isn't that a problem for the rest of the homeowners and the neighboring villagers who are trying to get out at that time, too? As for the safety of these kids, you'll have five-, seven-year-olds waiting at some shed in ATC for a shuttle to bring them to Zobel? Are you providing that shuttle?
Jose Luis Lacson - Don't forget that Ayala Alabang is a village. It's not in the middle of the highway, or on a very busy road. As a resident, I do experience traffic in the morning on the way to school, but I'm not complaining. But it really sometimes gets out of control. Getting out of the village in the morning can take up to 30 minutes, and entering during Zobel's dismissal time is another story. Yes, it is a hassle, but can't we just live with it at least for the rest of the school year? There are only two freaking months left. AAVA should just let it slide and use the summer break to think of better solutions to fix this problem! The resident to non-resident student ratio is 20-80. Yes, 80% of the school’s population is not from the village. Do you think it's that easy to hire shuttles considering there are 4000+ students in this school? All of you people don't understand because you're not experiencing this.
Cherry Ramirez - To me, there seems to be more options that can be explored that can lead to desired results. When stickers were issued there was no regard for carpool mates. Some parents in the same village have same sticker colors. So what can they do at this time? If this is done next school year, carpool mates can register and get different sticker colors. Also, based on my experience, there is no traffic before 7am and after 4pm, so just like how MMDA does it, I think coding can be implemented from 7am to 4pm to give options to families in availing of a window. Imagine picking up your five-year-old at 6pm. In California, carpool lanes allow vehicles with at least two persons. Perhaps we can do that. For as long as there are two or more kids in the car, they should be allowed to enter.
GM Hernandez III - There has to be a better solution than this. This only affects DLSZ students, not Woodrose and not Montessori. I'm all for carpooling or a bus shuttle system, but this should be studied carefully. What about the safety of the kids if they do ride the shuttle? Who will be responsible for anything that happens within that transit? Who pays for such a system? Will it be given priority in the village since it's a system in place to favor the village? There can be many other questions and there can be many other solutions. What they all need is time for experimentation and evaluation. I'm just wondering how much traffic and inconvenience DLSZ cars and buses cause? I guess the ones really burdened are those that have nothing better to do. I'm sure the residents that have been in Ayala Alabang for 36 years have already adjusted to the DLSZ situation.
Gerliz Marasigan - The parents are outraged because the village board is implementing the traffic scheme in the middle of the school year without any regard for the children. It has nothing to do with them being rich. It has everything to do with haphazard decisions made against the school.
Sansan Gutierrez-Pecson - A parent wanting to be the one to personally bring his or her child to campus, and to be personally the one to fetch his or her kid from campus is not a “rich-kid problem.” It is a matter of natural parental concern that is not dictated by social class.
Marco De Leon - To the AAVA Board of governors and to the complaining residents around DLSZ: The lot where DLSZ stands was donated by Ayala to DLSU as an attraction with which to encourage buyers. Nowhere in the deed of donation did they mention that the school to be estsblished was for homeowners only. Isn’t it obvious that University Avenue was so named because of DLSZ? So it was already there when you purchased your lots! Common sense would tell any buyer that lots situated near churches, clubhouses and schools may inevitably suffer from traffic congestion.
Charles Yu - I am parent of a nine-year-old kid in the school (La Salle Zobel also has a free night school). This is not an issue of the affluent versus the more affluent. This is not an issue of car owners versus commuters. This is about the rights of the children, which trump whatever else is being raised.
Michael Rojas - I am one of the residents who are in favor of the color-coding scheme. The cars and drivers of non-residents have gotten to be so unruly come dismissal time. I live on a street close to DLSZ, and I was almost run over twice by non-resident vehicles trying to circumvent the line to pick up kids at La Salle. We also live beside a vacant lot, and it's quite common for drivers to camp out on the lot the whole day doing their bathroom business there. I speak for the majority of residents who prefer the scheme.
Nadine Padilla - Not all residents support this color-coding scheme. Some AAVA residents have been hard at work signing petitions to try and persuade the board to stay this ruling at least until the school year ends.
Teej Sosa - As a student of Zobel and someone who is blessed with the privilege to live inside Ayala Alabang, I understand the cry of these parents. The color-coding scheme primarily affects those who live outside the village. The letter says one sticker color per family. So the amount of cars a family owns doesn't matter because they'll have stickers of the same color. That means there will be certain days that none of their cars will be able to go in the village to bring their children to school. Yes, there are other ways like carpooling and school bus, but please don't judge them. These parents just want to bring their kids to school safely with their own vehicles. This is not a “rich-kid problem.”
Cyril Jude Cornelio - It’s frustrating how everyone begins saying that we're privileged and we're being selfish and inconsiderate by abusing the hospitality of the people of Ayala Alabang. Yes, I understand we are already imposing ourselves too much. But we have to keep in mind that many students living outside AAVA are student athletes, musicians, org members, volunteers with the campus ministry. Many people are in orchestra and the basketball team and the chorale and Youth For Christ and and student council and PromComm. And they end up staying late (until 9pm) because of their rehearsals and practices and meetings. You can't expect everyone to quickly adjust their schedules and transportation to all of these plans.
Pomei Yap - As a resident, I can no longer enjoy the serenity of the village. Can’t even walk my dog because of traffic and pollution. This problem has been long overdue. AAVA should be tough in implementing its rules, but at the same time considerate with the two remaining months of the school year. If AAVA won’t be tough enough on this, our real estate value will definitely go down. Let DLSZ solve its problem. Stop accepting enrollees if you’re starting to cause inconvenience.
Noel Torres - This is a problem of imbalance to convenience in road access. We, the non-resident parents, would of course want our kids to have convenience going to school. And the residents want convenient access to the roads. The imbalance arises because one gets to be more convenient than the other. Hence, the push for balancing the road-access convenience. There is no easy solution, so I'm praying for a proper dialogue to happen between the two parties.
Alvin Mariano - I have a five-year-old daughter whom I bring to school every day. If the color-coding pushes through, I can only go inside AAV every Tuesday and Thursday. How am I supposed to bring my daughter on the other days? Let her take somebody else's ride? As parents, we take care of our own. I don't have a yaya because i want to take care of my daughter on my own, and not rely on somebody else. But if you are taking away my right to bring my own daughter to school, that is even worse than martial law.
Denise Duran-Grageda - I've been bringing my kids to and from DLSZ every day for four years now, and I must say the school is doing a very good job at traffic management. This year has been the easiest so far, and I really do not understand where the claim of "DLSZ is not doing anything about it" is coming from. Through the four years that I've been ferrying my kids, I've already lost count in fact as to how many times DLSZ has changed the traffic flow/rules around the campus, proof that the school is doing something. I'm really praying this color-coding scheme will not push through for the sake of the children.
Ina Teves - We are willing to carpool, take a shuttle, take the school bus. It’s just that the timing is really bad. It should be implemented at the start of the school year with a clear operating system based on processes being tested by the school this year, not in February when there are just two months of school left.