Latest reports have it that the legal impediment to the mandatory installation of GPS (Global Positioning System) devices on buses has been finally hurdled after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has denied a petition to stop it.
Last month a 20-day TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) was issued against circulars issued by the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) regarding the mandatory installation of GPS. However, the opposing bus operators group failed to obtain a writ of preliminary injunction from the same court after it found that they do not have sufficient evidence to support their allegations against the GPS project finally paving the way for its legally mandated use.
Some of the significant advantages of having GPS devices installed on PUBs include determining if these vehicles follow their authorized routes thereby discouraging drivers from going “out of line” and monitoring their actual speeds as a deterrent to over speeding, a major cause of most horrendous bus accidents, just to name a few.
The rules are out and finally determined as legal. Now we just have to find out how well they would be implemented.
I just hope its finally the end of it—illegal towing.
In the many years that I have been covering (through our 29-year old motoring TV show and similarly in this long-running column) the myriad of issues pertaining to traffic management, illegal towing has perennially counted among them. In the several changes of administration that I have seen, I also saw this unscrupulous practice come and go. The length of its deplorable existence depended on how the sitting traffic administrator gets to be “friendly” with the towing firms—accredited or not.
With the advent of modern technology, like smart phones and apps, it appears that illegal towing may finally come to an end—or will it?
The MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) launched a few days ago a smartphone application that is meant to protect motorists from illegal towing operations, which can be accessed through the Pureforce Citizens application for free both for Android and iOS platforms.
The app offers motorists extra protection against illegal towing operations by being able to immediately report anomalous activities directly to the MMDA Command Center aside from being able to ask for assistance for any emergency particularly on the road.
The app will rely on the MMDAs CCTV cameras and actual reports from its traffic enforcers and field personnel. And before any towing can be done an actual photo of the vehicle involved is supposed to be taken and send to the MMDA Metrobase through tablets with the app to be given to traffic enforcers and accredited towing firms.
It appears thorough and well thought, kudos to the MMDA.
Now, let’s hope it actually works.
If you think we have too many motorcycles on the road, go to Vietnam and see for yourself just how infant our country’s motorcycle industry is.
Due to the ever-increasing number of motorcycles in the country, our traffic managers made a forced move of coming up with ‘motorcycle lanes’ in our main thoroughfares. Well in Vietnam, with the overwhelming number of motorcycles, it would merit a reverse—a ‘car lane’ instead.
I was in Hanoi a few years back when I had the experience of being on the road at day’s end when most employees and workers were on their way home. And what a sight to behold! For a while I thought I was in the middle of a street demonstration when actually it was a sea of motorcyclists inching their way on both sides of the road. And the cars and other 4-wheel vehicles were all delegated to a narrow lane. I would say that we’re still not even close to where Vietnam is as far as the motorcycle population is concerned but who knows?
At the rate our economy is moving many foreign investors are taking longer looks at the prospect of laying their stakes here instead of mere glances, the motoring industry included.
Proof of this is the recent opening of the newest dealership of America’s foremost leisure manufacturer. Harley-Davidson of Manila—Bonifacio Global City is located at ShangriLa at the Fort is the third authorized dealership for the iconic brand in the Philippines, a testimony of the brand’s continued commitment in the Philippines.
Mr. Felix R. Ang, Dealer Principal of the new authorized dealership said during its well-attended launch said, "Welcome to the new home of Harley-Davidson in Manila. It is about time for riders here to experience the thrill of owning a true American legend. Harley-Davidson's presence in Bonifacio Global City adds much excitement to the district, known for passionate minds who will appreciate the iconic brand’s spirit of freedom and adventure."
The brand new dealership is owned and operated by American Motorcycles, Inc. headed by my long-time friend, Felix, a known automotive industry veteran in tandem with recognized finance wizard, Greg Yu, the same tandem behind the meteoric rise of Auto Nation Group (formerly Cats Motors), which counts among its notable marketing success other iconic brands like Mercedes Benz, Jeep and Chrysler.
Then there’s the Ayala Group and its further business expansion, as it gets more involved in manufacturing by taking in KTM, the foremost motorcycle brand in Europe as a partner.
Adventure Cycle Philippines, Inc. is the official motorcycle distributor of KTM housed under Ayala Automotive Holdings Corp.
"Ayala Automotive is excited to expand its portfolio and enhance the group's offerings to the market. We are excited by our entry into the motorcycle space and are in full support of this business. We remain committed as a group to providing the market the products and after-dales service it deserves," said Mr. JP Orbeta, Ayala Automotive president and CEO in confirming the Ayala Group’s support and commitment to the endeavor during a recently held press conference announcing the new venture.
Aside from distribution, Ayala's involvement goes deeper into the motorcycle business by going into actual manufacturing. Production is targeted in the third quarter of this year.
Indeed the local motorcycle industry is getting into its most exciting stage.
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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 Networkâ€™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 Stewartâ€™s middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBNâ€™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 70â€™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 sportsâ€™ 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-CBNâ€™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 Cableâ€™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 sportâ€™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 industryâ€”Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industryâ€™s latest technological developments.
In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Starâ€™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)