CSR for road safety

May 27, 2017

I've had occasion to write about some remarkable CSR projects of a few of our responsible corporate citizens in the country in past columns. Lately, perhaps because we just concluded the first everDriven to Serve Awards held at the Resorts World Manila recognizing the most exemplary CSR projects in the motoring industry, I am intermittently giving space not only to the winners of the Driven To Serve Awards organized by the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists (SPMJ) but to other non-winners as well whose CSR projects are also noteworthy.

Ford Philippines chose to focus on drivers' education, cognizant of the fact that escalating road accidents in the country continue to be a major cause of concern. As part of their initiative to prioritize road safety in their CSR projects, they coordinated with the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts to establish the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program. Through this program, Ford hopes to educate new and experienced drivers and equip them with a valuable skill for life. Actually, this program is a global initiative for the company, and a testament to its success is the fact that it has been replicated in other countries.

The Driving Skills for Life program started in 2008. Ford decided to work with the Tuason Racing School to pursue their road safety advocacy. JP Tuason, head of the racing school, ably customized his program to Philippine road conditions and tackled issues like lack of awareness of unsafe driving habits among our local drivers. Also included in the program are risks of distracted driving techniques to improve fuel economy and other safety issues.

Eight years later, in 2016, over 18,000 drivers of private and public utility vehicles have been trained through the Driving Skills for Life program. Private vehicles include Ford customers, fleet partners and students while PUVs include bus, jeepney and taxi drivers. How did they go about the DSFL? Ford organized classroom and special sessions and held them in the workplaces of the PUV drivers. They engaged another interested stakeholder, the PUV owners and management who, like the drivers themselves, stand to benefit the most from the DSFL program. When your drivers are well-trained in road safety, you eliminate or lessen the chances of fatal accidents in your transport business. Also, a big plus for these PUV owners is the inclusion of techniques to improve fuel economy in the program.

There were other participants who attended the training seminars at different Ford dealerships across the country or in selected universities. The good news for everyone is these seminars are completely free of charge to participants and at no cost to the hosting venues.

Those who participated in the DSFL program are ultimately the winners because, aside from basic safe driving and fuel efficient driving techniques, the program dealt with other sub-topics. Take for instance the primary need to check the vehicle before bringing it out into the streets. How many accidents have cost lives, injuries and damage to property because of faulty brakes or unstable tire rods or other similar problems that could have been addressed easily before the vehicle is driven out into the street? Or the importance of seat belts and child safety belts? Or avoiding common distractions that cause road accidents? The new bill (that has just been suspended as of last week) tackles driving distractions and there is a clear need to study this matter because these distractions have likewise caused many a road accident, but creating a bill and implementing it effectively is another matter altogether. It requires more extensive studies, more consultations with the relevant government agencies and other private stakeholders. Let's not rush this please.

Other topics tackled in the DSFL include the green driving techniques to protect the environment, creating more awareness about the perils of drunk driving and important inputs on driver assist technologies.

Ford continues with their Driving Skills for Life Program because it has proven to be quite successful. The program is open to all licensed drivers, whatever your age is. Check with your Ford dealer to find out about the DSFL seminar schedules for the year. It could be life-saving.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

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


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)