Aug 30, 2017

Road clearing—a top priority in solving traffic woes

"The roads are for vehicles as sidewalks should be for pedestrians!"

Amen to that! And it was former MMDA Chairman and now Congressman Bayani Fernando who initiated an almost personal crusade to see this through in the entire metropolis. Although some people saw it as an overstretched venture by implementing this even in residential subdivisions by dismantling landscaped sidewalks, in fairness the basic principle is not flawed. We now see some streets in the metro cleared of every imaginable traffic obstruction from illegally parked cars (some inoperable and rusted), food carts, vulcanizing shops, even ukay-ukay displays, etc., thanks to the on-going relentless combined efforts of the MMDA, PNP, local government officials and Barangay captains and now these streets are being effectively used by motorists as alternative routes.

In some of these combined obstruction-clearing operations, it was discovered that various concrete structures encroach the sidewalk and even the road. These include a newly built gated house that occupies the whole sidewalk and even a Barangay Hall within the sidewalk.

A friendly reminder to guilty parties, we were told that there is such a Presidential Decree (PD 178) also known as the Revised Philippine Highway Act that prohibits the use of road right-of-way for temporary and permanent structures such as buildings, houses, shanties, stores, shops stalls, shed canopies and billboards under penalty of fine, imprisonment or both.

Clearing the road and sidewalks of obstructions to help mitigate our daily traffic woes is as much effective as actually directing and managing traffic in intersections and should be treated with the same level of importance if not, in some instances, of a higher priority-to merit more personnel assigned to the sometimes dangerous task.

Travelling the toll ways in a breeze

Thanks to the utilization of modern digital technologies we can now look forward to the possibility of a totally seamless travel through our tollways. No more multi stops and the seemingly endless getting of tollway cards and paying tolls-all adding to travel time and not to mention the inconvenience and unnecessary efforts.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the largest tollway concessionaire in the country recently launched its digital tollways program with its Chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan remarking, "The use of digital payments is helping usher a new era of tollways operations in the country where consumers can enjoy faster, more secure and more convenient electronic transactions."

It was announced during the launch that aside from cash, motorists traversing NLEX could now pay their tollway fees by using their Easy Trip RFID, beep cards and Mastercard contactless debit, prepaid, and credit cards, including their Smart Mastercard powered by PayMaya. MasterCard acceptance for CAVITEX and SCTEX will commence soon. Motorists will also be able to pay at PTC expressways with their Visa contactless debit, prepaid and credit cards soon.

"Enabling electronic transactions in the tollways is a key contributor in growing electronic money usage as thousands of motorists use our expressways every day. With this initiative, we are offering Filipinos more options that can suit their lifestyle and personal preferences," added Rodrigo E. Franco, MPTC President and CEO.

Seamless, convenient and hassle-free travel in the expressways-a dream come true. Way to go, MPTC.

Mercedes-Benz GLA launch

Despite the usual horrendous traffic in the metro, which is already an accepted way of life any given Friday, especially late afternoon and early evening and most especially when it rains, the Fashion Walk of Greenbelt 5 last Friday, August 25 was already filled with busy bodies of all age brackets.

For a Mercedes-Benz launch I initially found it surprising to see quite a number of very young adults in the crowd until I realized what 'Chedeng' model would be unveiled-for any driving age as long as you can afford or your rich dad could.

The wide spectrum of age of invitees to the well attended event was aptly taken cared of by the presence of the top officers of Auto Nation Group, the exclusive importer and distributor of Mercedes-Benz in the country, namely, Chairman, Greg Yu and President Felix Ang's heir apparent, Frankie-the latter representing the young and the former the not so very young. At the time of the launch my good friend Felix was in the States receiving a very distinguished award for their Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership and of course that another big story. But then his lovely wife Grace made certain of her presence with their beautiful daughter in tow.

The star of the evening was the Mercedes-Benz GLA . This is actually the first compact SUV of Mercedes Benz, which made its debut in2013. The all-new version being described by the German premium carmaker as having improved styling, sharper features that make it look much more powerful with a host of comfort and smart equipment.

The GLA has a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder inline direct injection turbo charged petrol engine with maximum output of 381 horsepower with max torque of 475 Nm. It is claimed that it'll only take 4.4 seconds to reach 100 kph from standstill. Furthermore its all-wheel drive boasts of a fuel performance of 100 kilometers with 7.4 liters of petrol.

ANG, Inc.'s marketing top honcho, Bobby Shaw is confident that the limited stock would not stay long in their showrooms.

Might as well get a real close look and a test drive soonest!

TV streaming "on demand"

The best of both worlds for all motoring and car enthusiasts with any of these two websites: or

You can watch the 'streaming' of all the weekly past and present episodes of the TV showsMotoring Today and Auto Focus in their entirety.

Or if you don't have that much time you can just feast on all the latest news items about traffic management and the auto industry or the latest car reviews and head-to-head comparisons of the latest models and other motoring or auto features selectively.

All those news and features-only a click away.

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)