Mar 08, 2017

Where do we go from here?

In my thirty years of covering motoring issues on the TV show Motoring Today involving the country's transportation and traffic management concerns, transport strikes have come "a dime a dozen".

I remember that whenever the government would come up with pronouncements of stricter implementation of traffic laws to help promote driver discipline (which has always been one of the major causes of traffic jams in the metro, even during the time that we barely sold 70,000 vehicles yearly) the public utility drivers would almost always threaten to strike if not actually refuse to ply their routes. The reason always cited was that should the authorities begin to be strict in citing them for traffic violations they would not have any money left to bring home after a day's work as most would just go to fines. It was like saying that violating traffic laws was a driver's way of life.

But the recent transport strike was of a different mold. It was in protest for the government pronouncement that vehicles that spew a lot of toxic fumes and are no longer safe to transport commuters due to their decade and a half of existence would no longer be allowed to run in the streets. And this would be thousands of public utility vehicles that are fifteen years old and older, which would mean that thousands of drivers would be deprived of their livelihood.

But government is mandated to look after the greater good-the greater part of the populace that would be further affected by the pollution that these old vehicles cause and add to that the accidents that could happen due to mechanical failure that old machines are inevitably prone to suffer. This is aside from the fact that the government is directed to implement the law, which actually prohibits their being allowed to ply their routes.

So where do we go from here?

Some quarters are offering a possible "solomonic" political compromise, which is to allow a reasonable period of a moratorium from implementing the law. This would give operators time to modernize their vehicles to conform to what's street legal or to form cooperatives that could possibly go into e-vehicles, which is presently indeed a more viable option.

During the moratorium, all 15-year old vehicles would still be allowed to ply their routes "provided they pass an upgraded and stricter public motor vehicle inspection to be run by the private sector just like what's done with private vehicles" .

Some have expressed apprehension with the possibility of the MVIS or the Motor Vehicle Inspection System being run by the private sector. These quarters may not have noticed the fact that most of the smoke belchers on the road are now public utility vehicles and very seldom does one see private vehicles spewing smoke, if there are any. It appears that the emission testing industry has cleansed its ranks. There are enough safeguards in place to ensure their smooth and efficient operation.

The fact is the government does not have a MVIS to speak of. As of last count there are less than five MVIS facilities that are working in the entire country to service all the public utility vehicles-that's a big joke! What this means is that even vehicles that are newer than the 15-year olds may not be within the legal emission levels or roadworthy at all with this kind of vehicle inspection system that the country has in place or not in place at all-big joke!

So basically the suggestion is not to ban the 15-year old public utility vehicles for a reasonable extended period. Just make sure that during the moratorium period they pass strict motor vehicle inspection requirements for legal emissions and roadworthiness to be run by the private sector. And this goes for all PUVs-new or old

Makes sense, doesn't it?

Mitsubishi Mirage G4's grand presentation

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte set aside his busy Monday morning schedule lastFebruary 27 to make time for the top executives of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (Japan), lead by its president/CEO, Mr. Osamu Masuko to officially present in fitting ceremonies at theMalacañan Palace the first Philippine made Mirage G4, one of its official entry models in the country's Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.

Immediately after the presentation a press conference was held byMitsubishi Motors Philippines at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati where most of the motoring media chose to attend anticipating the tight security arrangements at the Palace.

During the press con Mr. Masuko reiterated Mitsubishi's sincere commitment to and trust on the Philippine government and on the CARS program, as it has already invested 4.3 billion pesos for the production facilities and equipment required for the localization of the Mirage models.

During an "on the side" conversation with this writer after the press con, Mr. Masuko admitted that Mitsubishi did not expect the issue of an increased excise tax when they decided to join the CARS program. However, he still expressed his confidence by confiding that despite the little distraction offered by the tax issue Mitsubishi looks forward to contributing more to the progress of the Philippine economy.

"We consider the Philippines as one of the most important markets for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and under the strong leadership of His Excellency President Duterte, there is big potential of economic growth in the country," stressed the soft-spoken top honcho of the world-renown corporate entity, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

BMW comfortable and elegant rides for ASEAN dignitaries

Congratulations to Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC) for being awarded by the Philippine Government the privilege to be the "Official

Premium Mobility Partner" of the 2017 Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) Summit.

As courtesy to the visiting dignitaries, ACC the official importer and distributor of BMW in the country will provide 300 specially commissioned BMW 7 Series, BMW X5 and BMW 5 Series vehicles for ministers and leaders from the ten members-nations during the year-long summit.

Some guys can be so lucky.

Happy Motoring!!!

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Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.

At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network’s AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart’s middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN’s DZYL and DZQL.

From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.

In the early 70’s, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).

In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports’ living legend Pocholo Ramirez.

After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN’s Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable’s Channel 13.

The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport’s hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.

In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry’s latest technological developments.

In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star’s business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.

Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.

Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)