Business & Leisure Column

More auto industry CSR initiatives

In this column, we have paid tribute to some of the local automotive companies that have shown exemplary corporate social responsibility projects in the areas of Education, Road Safety, Environment and Community Development. Some of these car companies were recognized by the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists (SPMJ) in the first ever 'Driven To Serve Awards' held at Resorts World Manila this year. Although not all of the entries submitted won awards in this year's search, all of them deserve recognition for the exemplary planning and execution of their CSR programs.


Please allow me to share more of these projects undertaken by the Asian Carmakers Corporation, PGA Cars, Inc. and Autohub.


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The Asian Carmakers Corporation is under the Alvarez Group of Companies which is headed by its Chairman Emeritus, Gov. Jose Ch. Alvarez. It is also the official importer and distributor of BMW Philippines has committed to two important programs related to education. One is a 3-year Automotive Technology course and a 9-month Apprenticeship Program that involves technical and non-technical training to underprivileged but deserving students. This training program which includes on-the-job training for the student-scholars with BMW dealerships was started in January 2014.


The Asian Carmakers Corporation has also generously donated the JCA Technology Complex building including the training equipment therein for the teaching and training program. This complex is part of the P72.3 million donation of ACC to help students enrolled in their automotive course. In partnership with Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, the complex was built in 2012 and offers courses in automotive mechanics. It sits on a 2.3 hectare lot in the Xavier University compound in CDO.


The program continues to evolve in keeping with the dynamics in the motoring industry, so the curriculum in the automotive courses is also continuously updated. The age of electric mobility is already upon us and the future auto technicians in the Philippines need to be equipped to meet the industry demands.


The second program that ACC has committed to is the "Study Now Pay Later" grant of Jose Ch. Alvarez that was started in 2015. Cognizant of the fact that education is the vehicle for progress, and recognizing the high cost of education that many marginalized Filipino families cannot afford, the study grant was initiated to open new opportunities to these families. Qualified students are given scholarships that will cover tuition, books, uniforms and attendant fees. Because most if not all of these families can hardly cope with daily living expenses, the grant has included living allowances that will cover transportation and basic needs.


As soon as the scholars graduate, work awaits them at BMW dealerships through a five-year contract to pay for the grant


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Along the same line, PGA Cars Inc., under its Chairman and CEO Robert Coyiuto, has also started the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia (PTRCA) way back in 2008. It is the first training facility of Porsche outside of Germany. The visionary PGA Chairman noted that, after giving exhaustive training to select local technicians, these employees were often pirated by Middle Eastern companies. The seed for PTRCA was thus planted by Coyuito himself.


The training facility, a collaboration between PGA Cars, Porsche AG and Don Bosco Technical Institute, has set its primary goal: to provide training that is world class to underprivileged young Filipinos. The three collaborators have delineated their own roles in pursuing the objectives of the Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia. Don Bosco Technical Institute, known and respected for generations for its technical courses, provides the automotive training. PGA's mission is to create "Mechatronics" among the selected student-scholars. These "Mechatronics" are elite technical specialist for Porsche vehicles. After graduation, these scholars will have earned job opportunities not only in Porsche but in Audi and Volkswagen dealerships across the globe. This is because the program has been extended to the sister brands of Audi and Volkswagen for the Middle East region. The technology that goes into the manufacture of these three superb brands is known worldwide for its German excellence.


And we are not talking of short automotive courses here either. The curriculum covers two years or four semesters of intense training, a portion of which is hands-on. The German Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recognized the efforts of and the fruits of PGA's PTRCA program. The GPCCI presented it with its prestigious Innovation Award during its Vocational Training Awards ceremony in December 2015.


To date, over 250 scholars have benefitted from the PTRCA program which has since been expanded from its original version in 2008. The expansion is seen to cover the increasing and evolving manpower needs of Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen. This can only mean more job opportunities awaiting deserving and needy Filipino students. From 2016, some one hundred twenty trainees have started in the expanded program. PGA's PTRCA program won the silver award in the Education and Training division in this year's Driven To Serve Awards.


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The Autohub Group, headed by Willy Tee Ten as its President, is an authorized dealer of Ford, Nissan, Hyundai and Mazda cars, exclusive distributor of Piaggio Ape and Vespa scooters as well as the importer of Rolls Royce, the iconic Mini Cooper and Lotus sports car. That is quite a line-up for this multi-brand dealership, and their CSR is also aligned with education and training.


Willy Tee Ten dreamt of having a technical school that could be the "Harvard of automotive technical schools", and the result of that dream is the Autohub Institute of Technology (AIT).


AIT fills the ever increasing need for well-trained auto service technicians not only here but in foreign shores as well. Willy saw the fruition of his dream just two years ago when he established AIT which now has 55 scholars, all fully supported by the Autohub Group. AIT offers a 2-year Automotive Servicing Technician course patterned after the National Certification courses of TESDA. The classroom instruction is held at the school located at the top floor of the Ford BGC building in Bonifacio Global City while the hands-on component of the course is held at different dealerships under Autohub. Because of the multi-brand business of Autohub, the students are exposed to American, European and Korean technology.


Kudos to these three Philippine automotive companies for their well-designed and perfectly executed corporate social responsibility programs.


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)