THE CURRENT Board of Governors 2014-2015, with support of the Barangay Ayala Alabang Council, conducted a Town Hall Meeting in the morning of Saturday, February 7 at the Cuenca Covered Court, to listen to the concerns and suggestions of residents on the proposed color-coding scheme for De La Salle Zobel School-bound vehicles.
The AAVA President, Governor Eppie Joaquin presided over the meeting, attended by 126 residents. From the participants, 31 gave their concerns, either in writing or personally spoken.
To ensure an orderly discussion and exchange of ideas and concerns, Atty. Richard (Dick) Ferrer was the Moderator.
Using Power Point presentation projected on two screens placed on both sides of the long stage where the BAA Council and the AAVA Board were seated, President Joaquin presented to the assembly the history of several traffic schemes and the chronology of events leading to the color-coding for DLSZ-bound vehicles.
He said that in August 2003 to May 2014, or over 10 years new traffic schemes, with minor adjustments were jointly implemented by AAVA-BAA-DLSZ management, but residents nearby the school keep on complaining about the congested traffic, pollution and noise.
Several meetings were held by AAVA Board and DLSZ Management. On May 29, 2014 meeting President Joaquin informed Br. Oca, his staff and Parents Association representatives that by the start of classes in June 2014, the color-coding scheme, in combination with car-pooling, shuttle service and bussing of students from ATC to DLSZ and back, will be implemented. Br. Oca requested further postponement while DLSZ will try other means and prepare the parents and students who are non-residents. But there has been no improvement, except for a brief period in August when actual vehicle count at the gates have shown a drop from 1200 to a little over 1000 vehicles were recorded, and the number rose again in October. After a BAA-organized pulong-pulong on October 11, Br. Oca implemented the suggestion of a resident to use bus service being used by Brent School International, but this was short-lived as only about 27 non-residents used the system.
In a meeting with Br. Oca at his DLSZ office on December 2, 2014 President Joaquin informed him that the color-coding scheme in combination with carpooling and bus service, will be implemented on February 2, 2014. Again Br. Oca requested further postponement as he has to convince his staff and parents of non-resident students. Then on January 26, 2015, the Board received a summon that a case has been filed before the Regional Trial Court, and a 20-day TRO was issued by the Judge of the Family Court on January 27, 2015 prohibiting the implementation of the color-coding scheme.
To provide the residents the opportunity to air their views, reactions and suggestions, the rest of the time was spent for the Q&A portion.
One resident said that the parking spaces both inside DLSZ and the area near the Saturday Market cannot accommodate 800 or more non-resident vehicles; no wonder they are parked all over the place. To which another resident added that the traffic congestion has become worse especially along Acacia and Madrigal at the start of classes in the morning and closing in the afternoon. One resident has invited fellow residents for a coffee in the morning and watch the traffic congestion passing by his residence along University Ave.
On the issue of student population, Mr. Mike Tensuan, past president of AAVA said that during his Board, DLSZ promised to cap at 4000 their student population and he believes that DLSZ should stick to that promise. Records at DLSZ, however, shows that in the SY 2014-2015, there are 4,188, of which 78% are non-residents.
Chairman Baes informed the assembly that his Council has passed a Barangay Ordinance capping the student population of all schools located in the Village to their present student population for the school year 2014-2015 and will never be allowed to increase. The Barangay Ordinance was already submitted to the Muntinlupa City Council for ratification. Once ratified and sent back to BAA the Ordinance will take effect in 30 days. President Joaquin thanked Chairman Baes for the Ordinance.
One resident said the Board should institute the color-coding scheme; institute surcharge on the effect of the traffic and air pollution; and encourage DLSZ to move out of the Village.
Mr. Manny Gonzales, past AAVA President, commended the AAVA Board and Barangay Council for making the Town Hall Meeting possible to address and find solutions to the nagging problem of traffic in the Village. He made a follow-up on the suggestion of Mr. Tensuan to reach out again with DLSZ. He suggested to the Board to form a committee to study and to come up with recommendations on how to solve the problem out of court and find a win-win solution for both parties concerned.
President Joaquin said that the Board is open to discuss again the matter with DLSZ as long as they will provide an immediate solution to the problem.
Meantime, Atty. Amora, and another resident who spoke earlier, said that in fairness to DLSZ, the color-coding, if implemented should also apply to other schools in the Village. He requested that the letter signed by 78 residents, which he also signed should be published because President Joaquin responded to that letter.
To this suggestion, President Joaquin instructed AAVA Management to have both letters published in the AAVA News.
In preparation for the color-coding scheme, another resident said that additional exit gates should be opened as all the present gates are connected to Commerce Avenue.
Quite on another issue, but still related to noise, one resident close to DLSZ said that AAVA Office allows construction work on Monday to Saturday and from 8am to 5pm. If overtime is requested, it is up to 6pm only. No work is allowed on Sundays. However, AAVA allows DLSZ to use its soccer field for practice purposes as early as 6am on weekdays and games on Sundays, with sound system turned on very loud, disturbing the residents nearby.
President Joaquin said that he will discuss the matter with Br. Oca.
Atty. Freddie Nuesa shared that one of the parents of the DLSZ-PA approached him and asked him to help them to request for a dialogue with AAVA Board. He advised the PA to prepare a letter to the Board asking for a dialogue/meeting and prepare also the counter action for the color-coding, but parents did not cooperate. He also expressed his support to the color- coding scheme and said that the shuttle service is the most effective solution to reduce volume of cars.
President Joaquin thanked Atty. Nuesa. He also said that DLSZ had promised to strategically locate their shuttle service in different areas in the south.
Vice President Eugene Dela Cruz informed the Body that DLSZ filed a case against AAVA making the children as complainants when in fact DLSZ and some parents should be the complainants of the case. He said that AAVA were being so fair and open to talk on the matter with the parents association but they never reached out, instead they keep on hiding under Br. Oca's cloak. He said that the AAVA Board are not stopping them and their children from having good education but they should know how to pay respect and consideration to the Village as their humble host since from the beginning.
There being no other questions to address, President Joaquin adjourned the meeting at 12:40PM.
At the meeting, BAA Council was represented by Chairman Ruben Baes, Kgds Archie Lacson, Lester Suntay and Pat Bocobo.
For the AAVA Board, those present were President and D-6 Gov Eppie Joaquin, VP and D-7 Gov Eugene Dela Cruz, D-1 Gov Nelson Mendoza, D-2 Gov. Constantino Marcaida, D-3 Gov. Jun Galindez, D-5 Gov Ricky Tamparong and Auditor General Bong Victorio.By Zake R. Maribbay