Word has it that the MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) has been endorsing the move to make traffic education a part of the school curriculum. Must be a desperate reaction to the kind of road discipline (or its absence) the traffic management agency encounters daily in its mandated task to keep traffic order in the metropolis.
I remember when we initially formed SPMJ (Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists) more than a decade ago, its then exclusive membership of top-ranked print and broadcast journalists, all road safety advocates unanimously agreed on embarking on a project that we all believed would promote road safety among our country's youth. We targeted the young populace because we felt that starting them young would be a lot easier than trying to teach "old dogs new tricks". We thought we leave to the traffic authorities the Herculean task of teaching present clueless holders of driver's licenses about traffic discipline.
Our approach was to help guide teachers on how to teach their students about the responsible use of roads as a commuter, a driver or a pedestrian. To achieve this we had a formal teaching module prepared by a government agency specifically tasked to deal with traffic management and education, the UP NCTS (National Center for Transportation Studies). The teaching module did not come cheap but we were very fortunate the local auto industry helped underwrite the costs by car manufacturers and importers gamely participating in a series of fund-raising golf tournaments.
When the teaching module was finally done after a series of consultations even with psychology experts to make sure that its approach would effectively correspond to the age of the students it was intended for, a bigger problem to hurdle presented itself - gathering teachers together (especially those from public schools) for seminars on how to use the teaching modules. We learned that the teachers already had a full week's schedule that having these seminars on Saturdays would effectively take away their only day in the week to do their home chores like going to the market, doing the laundry, spending time with their children and meeting other vital family responsibilities that they couldn't attend to during the other days of the week when they spend their entirety working on their teaching requirements in the school.
Despite hitting a blank wall we still managed to hold quite a few workshops until we decided to shelve it and wait for a better time to push the project. But we didn't want to miss a beat in promoting our road safety advocacy so we tried to push a little bit more, this time by going straight to then Education Secretary Butch Abad to propose the inclusion of a particular subject in the student's curriculum that would deal with road safety. My tukayo patiently explained to me how fully packed the students’ curriculum was with a line of proposals for additional subjects like entrepreneurship and others that I cannot remember anymore, which they cannot also accommodate - another blank wall.
But fate deemed it should not die. The concept of teaching our youth to become responsible road users stayed alive when I decided for Sunshine TV to collaborate with friends and form a partnership with Socio Com Foundation, similarly composed of motoring enthusiasts and road safety advocates to conduct free road safety seminars and workshops for high school senior students.
The Young Street Smarts Road Safety School Tour is now on its 8th year, having conducted seminars and workshops to more than 35 schools, some repeatedly year after year, reaching more than 20,000 students, counting the local auto industry, through its biggest organization, the Chamber of Automobile Manufacturers in Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) as its biggest supporter.
Having attended almost all of these seminars and workshops, I know for a fact that we are filling a void for knowledge regarding road safety among these students. And the government with its resources can do a better job than we in the private sector, in a limited way, can do.
Having said that, the prospect of including road safety and discipline in the school curriculum as suggested by the MMDA must be looked into by the present government very deeply. Responsible use of our roads as a pedestrian, commuter and driver can ultimately promote road safety. And better traffic flow too.
"The best just got better," was what Chevron's country manager, Peter Morris, product engineering manager, Greg Engler, and brand manager, Arnel Reniedo, were saying in a nutshell during the launch of Caltex with Techron with the addition of a new Clean & Glide technology to the motoring media last week.
A Chevron statement released during the presentation said, "Ever conscious of the needs of motorists, the Caltex brand has reformulated its signature additive package with the addition of a new Clean & Glide technology. The new active ingredients are specifically designed to clean and protect metal surfaces within the engine. Helping reduce friction and thus wear and tear between key engine components. Clean & Glide technology delivers enhanced engine protection, improved fuel economy and maximized power with continued use over time, all key in helping provide a more reliable motoring experience."
This new improved fuel formulation is now available nationwide in all Caltex service stations and is vaunted to work wonders even for old vehicles.
The Grand Ballroom of the Shangri La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City was filled to the rafters last Monday, June 27 with the who's who of the metro's business and social circles and members of the media to witness the launch of the new Mercedes Benz E-Class.
Lead by business tycoons, Greg Yu and Felix Ang, Auto Nation Group's chairman and president respectively, the elegant launch presented the new Mercedes Benz E-Class as the most intelligent, most comfortable and sporty business sedan ever.
Some of its high tech features as laid out to the gasping crowd include; Dynamic Select with 5 driving programs where a cockpit switch facilitates selection of different modes such as Comfort, ECO, Sport, Sport + and Individual or personalized, then there's the Infotainment system that connects to the Internet, which comes with resolution media display (12.3-inch screen) that has fast hard-disc navigation with 3D map display, 3 different suspension systems, etc., to name a very few.
There's still a big mouth-full to say about the new Mercedes Benz E-Class but my words may not do justice to describe its other remarkable features and getting to see it up close with an actual test drive is our best advice.
Tomorrow evening at 10 o'clock on Solar Sports (Channel 70, Sky Cable and Channel 35, Destiny Cable), Auto Focus, the weekly TV magazine exclusive to the automobile and its industry will have a review of Honda's premium SUV, the Pilot together with a glimpse of the 2017 Maserati Quattroporte and the 2016 Lamborghini Aventador Miura Homage.
The weekly automobile show will also have a feature-to-feature comparison of the Honda Brio and the new Mitsubishi Mirage with the 2nd leg of the 2016 Vios Cup as the week's Special Feature together with the latest news and developments in the local auto industry.
You can also check it out online www.autofocus.com.ph
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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)