There is now a slew of welcome motoring developments that may lead one to believe that all is not lost despite disturbing developments in the world, which presently make many turn to the sports page for less stressful news.
The poised move of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to require all public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers to undergo drug tests can undoubtedly reduce road accidents caused by drivers who ply their routes while under the influence of illegal drugs.
This measure could be most effective if done randomly but consistently, like unannounced in bus and jeepney terminals before any driver is cleared to drive out. Any driver found positive should be grounded on the spot and criminally charged immediately.
I remember getting almost identical suggestions from our readers that for a more effective implementation of the law against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drivers that get involved in any kind of accident, except for the fender-bender types should immediately undergo drug and alcohol tests. Any driver found positive should be held for immediate inquest for criminal liability. Sounds harsh but indeed very effective.
Another welcome development is the move of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to allow new electric, solar-powered public utility jeepneys (PUJs) that passed their inspection based on the specifications and standards set by the Bureau of Product Standards of the DTI to ply certain routes.
The standards stipulate that the PUJ must be able to accommodate 22 passengers using an entrance installed on the right side of the vehicle with seats facing front and safety belt-equipped.
Some of the routes specified include Ayala-Buendia toSM Mall of Asia and to the Southwestern Integrated Transport Terminal upon its completion.
This would mean the advent of environment-friendly, cleaner, safer and more reliable PUVs for the public's use-what used to be a dream might now hopefully be a reality.
The motoring public fervently prays for things coming into fruition and beyond press releases and power point presentations.
There appears to be a "dual mad rush" this year by both the suppliers and the supplied (sellers and buyers) in the local auto industry as we see new models being launched and more lined up to be unveiled just before the year ends up to the start of the coming year or more specific before the government's poised increase in taxes gets implemented. And both sectors agree that it's more of optimizing the opportunity or "making hay while the sun is up", that this waiting period presents-for the buyers to buy when the prices haven't gone up and the sellers to unload when the demand is still obviously high.
Audi Philippines wisely joins the bandwagon by launching its all-new Audi Q5, one of its fastest-selling models considering its very strategic price level, which is right smack into where most of their loyal buyers belong to.
"I am proud to bring the all-new Audi Q5 here in the Philippines. This car is setting the bar higher for SUVs in its class," says Audi Philippines head, Benedicto Coyiuto. The young top executive in the local auto industry adds, "As proof of the brand's corporate tagline, "Advancement through Technology", the Audi Q5 boasts of great innovations such as the Quattro all-wheel drive system with ultra technology, highly efficient engines, air suspension with damper control and a comprehensive line-up of infotainment and assistance systems. I believe it will continue to be the best-selling luxury compact SUV here in the Philippines."
It was a well-attended event held at the Manila Polo Club where the guest line up is composed mostly of those of people who could most likely afford what's being launched joined by the motoring media most of whom only looked like we could afford. And in the midst of the swirl of businessmen and socialites all eager to have a glimpse of theAudi Q5 we saw business tycoon,Robert Coyiuto, Jr. withPorsche Philippines head, son Robert III (Ompee) busily making sure everyone's having a great time during the launch.
The Q5 comes in two variants, either in 2.0-liter TFSI engine with 250 hp or a 2.0-liter TDI engine with 190 hp both of which can run at a top speed of 220 kph.
PGA Cars ' Amado del Rosario invites everyone to take a closer look and a test drive at any of the Audi showrooms-Alabang, Global City, Greenhills or SM Seaside, Cebu City.
With the aim of making our roads safer and to protect the mobile assets and cargo of its clients, MAN Automotive Concessionaires Corporation (MACC), the country's exclusive importer, assembler and distributor of MAN trucks and buses recently launched the MAN Telematics and Fleet Management System (FMS).
"This technology can help owners and fleet managers easily control their fleets, monitor the driver's performance, productivity and safety practices," says Ferdie Lu, managing director of MACC. "Ensuring the efficient dispatch and routing of trucks, truck and cargo safety, fuel consumption management and driver behavior and performance are challenges that the MAN FMS can help every truck owner and fleet manager with" he added.
In a detailed technical presentation made during the launch, some of the MAN FMS multiple functions that were listed included the keeping track of all vehicle information such as vehicle speed, engine RPM, engine loading, coolant temperature, battery voltage, engine running time, driver on duty time, fuel consumption, vehicle service interval, etc., it also integrates with GPS (Global Positioning System) and a module like WAZE to guide the driver to the destination, it gives out audible and visual warnings whenever there is impending danger in forward collision, lane departure, pedestrian collision and other functions deemed not only beneficial to truck companies but likewise to other road users as a result of improved road safety with its use.
There was immediate acceptance from many of fleet owners present during the launching as actual orders were made with Victory Liner president, Johnny Hernandez on the lead confirming an order for 100 units of one of the MAN buses on display beside the launch venue. A total of close to 200 units were ordered before the event came to a close, which was arguably a testimonial to the importance of the truck brand's newly introduced technical innovations.
It was actually a twin event that MACC held on October 9 at the Manila Polo Club. Aside from the launch, it also marked MACC's 28th year exclusively handling the leading German industrial vehicle maker's interests in the Philippines.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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)