Jul 13, 2016

If it's broke, why bring it back?

I'm sure a lot of you who are reading this are already wondering and thinking that somehow that's not how the old adage goes. It should be, "If it ain't broke, why fix it?"

Let me assure you that you are absolutely right. It sort of looks like it's all jumbled up but it's not. My column headline ain't jumbled up.

When we say, "If it's broke, why bring it back?" we are referring to what some recent newspaper reports say that there are moves to bring back drug testing for those who apply for driver's license.

This idea is broke, so why bring it back? It doesn't work. So why adopt it again. As a matter of fact an amending legislation was crafted and passed into law just to put a stop to it. Because it simply doesn't work, at least not the way it was being done.

I took a drug test myself when I applied for renewal of my driver's license. And I surely found out that a rogue applicant could easily go around the requirement because nobody strictly checked whether it's really the applicant's urine that is placed into the receptacle that's provided. A vial can easily be hidden inside the pants of the applicant and deposit somebody else's urine (a non drug user's) inside the container unhampered and pass the test with flying colors.

Besides, some doctor-friends of mine have assured me that all an applicant for a driver's license has to do to pass the test is to stop using drugs for a couple of weeks before the drug test. Even if the applicant were a habitual drug user it would not show, not the way the drug tests were being done before.

It would take another kind of drug test, a prohibitively more expensive one, which looks into hair strands that can determine drug use and abuse of even months past.

I also have a friend who used to run drug-testing centers who apprised me that the system of the exercise actually assured its failure. If I'm not mistaken the protocol called for the drug-testing center to report drug test failures and underwrite the cost of a confirming second drug test on these applicants who were found positive. In such an arrangement the drug center's more practical reaction is to just advice the failing applicant to clean up for a couple of weeks or months and come back to take the test again.

I hope I won't be misunderstood here. I believe in drug tests for drivers but perhaps it would be better if they would be mandated and required for all drivers who get involve in serious road accidents that cause extensive damage, injuries or death, immediately after. It can also be done randomly on all drivers of public utilities (jeepneys, city and provincial buses and tricycles).

A law that would surely unmask illegal drug users, especially when they have caused serious road accidents may more effectively deter drivers from using drugs while driving. Or if they had, they would have to be extra careful that they don't get into any accidents for they would surely be detected and punished. Or even be shot in sight, which is getting to be fashionable lately?

Transporting commuters while deliberately under the influence of drugs, consciously endangering passengers' lives is more unconscionable than petty drug pushing. Both are wrong and illegal but the former can have more devastating immediate effects with prospects of causing the loss of life and limb to many.

Let's forget about reviving drug tests for driver's license applicants. It doesn't work. Let's just require drivers involved in road accidents to take them immediately after, aside from regular random drug tests in PUV terminals. Probably just a Presidential Executive Order can make this happen. I really don't know. One thing I do know is that it's simpler and less expensive.

Remarkable fuel performance by Honda

The recently held Euro 4 Economy Run organized by the DOE (Department of Energy), which was conducted not only to promote the mandated use of Euro 4 fuels but also to come up with a benchmark to standardize the measurement of fuel economy under the Philippine Energy Standards and Labeling Program has produced remarkable fuel economy performance from a number of participating automobile models.

Honda was one of those that came up with notable figures in their models' fuel efficiency. Out of their eight models that participated, the Honda Jazz 1.5 VX CVT registered the highest rating of 28.60 kilometers per liter of fuel. It was also the best fuel performance in the country's overall class of sub compact Hatchbacks.

Here's how the other Honda models extraordinarily performed during the 280 kilometer run where the speed is constant at 80 kph with the aircon running at full blast.

Model Variant Results
Civic 1.5 RS Turbo CVT 27.56 km/l
City 1.5 CVT 26.02 km/l
HR-V 1.8 E CVT

24.82 km/l

Brio 1.3 S 5AT 24.78 km/l
Mobilio 1.5 V CVT 24.69 km/l
Brio Amaze 1.3 V 5AT 23.77 km/l
CR-V 2.0 S 5AT

20.59 km/l

According to Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) president and general manager, Toshio Kuwahara as early as 2004 they have started introducing Euro 4 ready car models in the Philippines and by 2015 was first among auto brands to obtain Euro 4 certification from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its locally manufactured and imported vehicles.

Aside from Honda's clearly stated concern for the environment through its pioneering efforts in the country in promoting the use of Euro 4 fuels, Kuwahara-san adds, "Moreover, in the midst of the increasing fuel costs, Honda believes that the new technologies and advancements in its engines promotes fuel efficiency and help its consumers save on resources for other essential commodities."

Bankers give a "thumbs up" for the Ciaz

Those `car loan qualified' buyers who are opting to have the Suzuki Ciaz through financing would surely breeze through their loan applications after the reported successful test drive by 27 representatives from leading names in the banking industry of the all-new subcompact sedan model launched in the country last April.

"Since the introduction of the all-new Ciaz, the number of inquiries and request for test drives we have been receiving has pleasantly surprised us. With this overwhelming response, we believe that the Ciaz will one of our bestsellers this year and contribute significantly to the company's continuous growth" stated the beaming Shuzo Hoshikura, general manager of Suzuki Philippines after the spirited test drive of the approving bank executives.

Last year Suzuki Philippines registered a whooping 52% year-on-year growth owed greatly to the Ciaz's very impressive market acceptance.

What's on Auto Focus this week?

Tomorrow, Thursday at 10 o'clock in the evening on Solar Sports, Channel 70, on Sky Cable and Channel 35 on Destiny Cable, Auto Focus, the country's premier auto news and features TV magazine shall give car enthusiasts a glimpse of the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic and 2017 Acura MDX plus a detailed review of the newly refreshed 2016 Mitsubishi Mirage. There will also be a head-to-head, feature-to-feature comparison of two of the country's leading crossovers, the Toyota RAV-4 and the Nissan X-Trail. The latest news about the automobile and its industry and a special feature on the recently held SsangYong summer Media Ride and Drive make up the entire weekly 60-minute TV presentation exclusive to the automobile and its industry.

And if you missed any of its past episodes, check out its website, www.autofocus.com.ph.

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments (email) sunshine.television@yahoo.com


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)