No longer only about guns & ammo

Jun 10, 2017

I have been attending gun shows for the past several years together with hundreds, no make that thousands of other gun enthusiasts, and enjoying them. Armscor has always been a constant in all these gun shows. I have friends at Armscor and it is one of the booths that I make sure I visit during these 4-day events. They always have an impressive line-up of firearms and ammo and best of all, the state-of-the-art merchandise on display there are proudly Philippine-made and exported throughout the world.

Last June 1 to June 4, Armscor opted to stage their own show but of a different theme. The company staged the 1st Tactical & Survival Expo (TACS Expo) at the SM Megatrade Halls 1-3 in Mandaluyong City organized by my good friend Sophie de los Santos, a veteran in trade shows. If you missed out in this show, try to catch our short segment on this on Sports Shoot at ourBusiness & Leisure TV show this Friday with streaming at our website (

The guest of honor was National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who hailed the timeliness of the safety, security and survival show. Ours, he said, is an archipelago constantly visited by natural disasters like super typhoons and earthquakes, and our citizenry need to be educated and trained on survival techniques during such disasters. In addition to natural disasters which we must brace for, there are also the very real threats of political upheavals, public disorders, crime and home invasion, and armed conflicts in certain areas in Mindanao. Sec. Lorenzana also took time out to honor the members of the Philippine Army Shooting Team who came home with 15 medals from the recent competition in Australia. He also thanked Armscor for staging this show which he said will benefit the Filipinos greatly. By the way, Armscor undertook this trade show entirely on its own, inviting exhibitors to participate and giving them free booths. Entrance was also free of charge to the general public.

Take the armed conflict in Marawi, for instance. The government was unprepared for such a bold, brazen act, though the response was swift and decisive. Martin Tuason, the young president and CEO of Armscor, announced at the opening of the TACS Expo that his company was at the government's disposal should there be a need for more firearms during this Marawi crisis. He condoled with the families of the fallen soldiers and townspeople and added that, if needed, he was ready to disrupt the export schedules of Armscor to be able to respond to the crisis.

Bolo Tuason , now the Chairman Emeritus of Armscor, his brother Severo, now theChairman of the Board, andGina Angangco, the Senior Executive Vice President and Deputy CEO were on hand to welcome everyone to the first ever tactical show. Of equal importance to the company is their change of name, the announcement of which coincided with the TACS Expo. The company is now known as Armscor Global Defense, Inc., according to the Chairman of the Board, Severo Tuason. According to him, the change of name represents the company's wider vision. The company has always been known as an arms and ammunition manufacturer and marketer, but it is now positioning itself as a global solutions provider for safety, security and defense. They will be offering their brands and products "in the context of solutions and will marshal distributorships for other products that support and complement them. In doing so, the company will greatly broaden its portfolio, engage with a wider range of international clients and be able to enter more bids and procurements."

As a bit of a backgrounder, Armscor has been exporting its products since 1972 starting with Australia. Then martial law broke out in that same year and the company was prohibited from selling its firearms in the country. As a result, Armscor concentrated on its export market and now the company exports to some sixty five countries worldwide, the biggest buyer of which is the United States. With the closing of a door, a big wide window was opened for Armscor.

As Chairman Severo shared, Armscor Global Defense now exports 80% of its Philippine output. The company has two factories in the U.S., the Armscor Cartridge Inc. at Stevensville, Montana and the Nevada Gun Works in Pahrump, Nevada. By shifting to this new name, Armscor is now ready to be one of the biggest players in the global market.

But back to the TACS Expo. This trade show focused not only on guns and ammo but anything and everything about survival and security for sustainable living. Aside from the traditional weapons, firearms and accessories, the trade show had booths displaying products for survival technology, gear and equipment. There were tents and light boats, rescue equipment and the like. What caught our attention was the booth ofMay Liwanag. My good friendBolo Tuason made special mention of the Filipino Inventors' Society led by its national president, Manuel R. Dono, himself an inventor, in his welcome speech. Their booth at the expo showcased another excellent Filipino invention called May Liwanag. These are lamps that do not need electricity, battery or even solar energy. They run on Clorox or even vinegar. This proudly Filipino invention is nothing short of amazing and perfect for those impossible situations like typhoons and earthquakes when there is a shortage of resources like sunlight or batteries. The handy lamps also need very little maintenance, just an occasional cleaning.

The 1st Tactical & Survival Expo was a great show, and for those in the provinces who missed it, there will always be another chance for you. Bolo Tuason shared that they are now already organizing the next shows and will bring the expo to provinces so more Filipinos can benefit from the shared knowledge of "safety, survival, and security for sustainable living."

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

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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)