"Yolanda bunch"

Feb 04, 2017

As you may conclude upon reading this, I have gotten myself immersed in corporate social responsibility projects of various companies, perhaps because of the recent project of theSociety of Philippine Motoring Journalists ( SPMJ) of which I am a member. SPMJ has launched a search for the best CSR projects in the automotive industry, on an annual basis, the reason for my recent immersion.

Allow me to share this one with you. PGA Cars Chairman Robert Coyiuto Jr. had a brainchild that led to a golden opportunity for hundreds of students from poor families. The company was reeling from the unscrupulous piracy of their highly trained and competent technicians through the global Porsche network. It takes long man hours and logistics to train employees and hone them in specialized technical skills, but it only takes a handful of unscrupulous employers to bait them with better offers without spending anything on their education and training. A frustrated Robert had to deal with the situation fast. After representations with the Porsche AG, he came up with the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia (PTRCA). Established in 2008, this has been PGA Car's long standing scholarship and employment program that has sustained the technical skills offered by the company while providing deserving students of special education and training and ensuring their employment.

PTRCA entered into a strategic partnership with the Don Bosco Technical Institute, a respected institution when it comes to highly developed technical skills as well as the discipline that the faculty instills in its students. Together, these two entities have developed elite technical specialists who are called "Mechatronics". Underprivileged Filipino youths were transformed into highly trained technicians specializing in Porsche vehicles after completing the required course. Moreover, these scholars of the PTRCA have something to look forward to and that is guaranteed employment after graduation. These young graduates are often posted abroad, at Porsche service centers in developed markets like the Middle East, Europe and Latin America as well as Asian cities. From unproductive young people, they have become breadwinners for their families back home because of the highly competitive salaries that their specialized training has allowed them to get.

The program was initially developed for the Porsche brand because of the need for highly competent technicians, but because of its unprecedented success, PGA Cars thought of expanding the program to include the other brands under its stable. This is now the program known as PTRCA 2 whose immediate graduates can look forward to job postings in the Middle East. Don Bosco Technical Institute's faith and optimism in the project is reflected in its decision to construct a 6,000 square meter training center that will house seminar rooms and training workshops, anticipating an influx of trainees in the program. What lends it even more credence is the fact that the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) has thrown in its support for the program. The GPCCI will certify graduates of the course towards employment. This organization has also recognized the efforts and the success of the program when it conferred the PTRCA its Innovation Award for the sustainability, transferability and effectiveness of the program, citing it for changing the lives of underprivileged Filipino youths.

And then Yolanda came late in 2013, that vicious scorn that overwhelmed the hapless people in the Eastern Visayas region. Nature's wrath indeed, but because very often, tragedies are transformed into golden opportunities, PGA Cars also saw this as an opportunity to provide assistance to some of the victims of Yolanda. Help can come in many ways-through one-time aid of financial assistance or through sustainable assistance by teaching them not just to enjoy the fish but how to fish as well. From the survivors of Yolanda, some lucky but deserving ones were given the chance to once again become productive citizens, and these lucky youths formed the 2014 batch of enrolees in the PTRCA.

The Yolanda scholars were given free enrolment, but aside from that , Porsche donated 50,000 Euros or the equivalent of P2.6 million to Don Bosco Mondo Germany to help them in the building of schools in provinces devastated by Yolanda .

These lucky students have now graduated from the Don Bosco Institute of Technology. Immediately upon graduation, these scholars underwent a nine-month specialized technical training at the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia. The class valedictorian, Chad Germanes, spoke during the graduation rites: "Yolanda was a nightmare for many of us, and we remain glad to have survived it because many didn't. Still there were doubts about what the future held for us because of all the destruction to our province. PTRCA has given us strength and hope to believe in ourselves because we now have a very marketable skill. We will never forget this opportunity and we will not disappoint wherever we eventually become posted - whether here or elsewhere in the world."

During the graduation rites, PGA Cars' Chairman Robert Coyiuto Jr. proudly congratulated the graduates whom he fondly calls the "Yolanda batch" and noted with pride that after only eight years, the PTRCA program has produced hundreds of graduates who, fully armed with highly specialized skills, are now able to land decent jobs with prospects of advancement, their lives and those of their families uplifted from despair and poverty.

It is the component of guaranteed employment that makes the difference in this corporate social responsibility project that makes it stand out, paving the way for the company to do its share in the national effort to provide solutions to unemployment in the country.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

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

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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)