LTO requires focused concern from gov’t
MOTORING TODAY - Rey Gamboa () - July 9, 2003 - 12:00am
There’s been a recent changing of the guard at the Land Transportation Office. The optimist would view this as another chance to have some changes to solve the LTO’s present woes, while the pessimist would dismiss it as just another leadership change to be followed by another and then another chairman, depending on which way the political winds blow.

Whether they will keep Mr. Agustin Bengson as temporary OIC or maintain him as the duly-appointed LTO chief is not as important as the focused concern that the government should have on this agency that more often than not finds itself in the midst of various controversies.

The LTO has some serious concerns staring it in the face. There’s the issue of fake COCs or Certificates of Cover for the compulsory insurance of motor vehicles prior to registration. Despite a working arrangement with the Insurance Commission using modern-day information technology, the system, which is already in place, still has a lot of kinks and controversies to be ironed out among the players within the system.

The compulsory drug tests prior to registration are also a brewing issue, which has seen a number of drug test centers being padlocked due to infringement of many rules.

The same goes for private businessmen who answered the government’s call to put up emission testing facilities to help with the Clean Air Act requirement owing to the government’s financial inadequacies. These businessmen find themselves in a hardly viable business due to over-accreditation by the LTO.

And, of course, what eventually broke the camel’s back was the EWD controversy.

There are so many cobwebs that need to be cleared in the LTO, which if taken for granted, would greatly and adversely affect so many parties, the bulk of whom would be motorists and motor vehicle owners.

The LTO itself needs some serious and focused concern from the government, aside from just a change in its leadership.
Isuzu & Honda get National Consumer Awards
We congratulate IPC (Isuzu Philippines Corp.) and HCPI (Honda Cars Philippines Inc.) for garnering prestigious individual awards in the 14th Annual National Consumer Awards at the Westin Philippine Plaza held last July 4.

IPC bagged the "Outstanding Manufacturer of Asian Utility Vehicle (AUV)" award for its Hi-Lander Crosswind, the second time for the popular AUV to receive such a citation, and the "Outstanding Manufacturer of Light Trucks" award for its Fuego pick-up, one of the top choices in the local market currently. Both honors were proudly received during the ceremonies by IPC executive vice president Kazuhico Sho and vice president Art Balmadrid.

In the same esteemed event, HCPI was bestowed the "Outstanding Manufacturer of Compact Cars" award for the Honda Civic.

The Consumers Union of the Philippines, which represents the country’s buying public, has always maintained that awardees are judged based mainly on the outstanding features and quality of the products and their beneficial effects to consumers.

Kudos to Isuzu Philippines and Honda Cars Philippines!

First in the Philippines and in the world?

Game shows of all kinds used to proliferate our television airwaves. Some of them soared in the ratings but were gone after a few seasons, until only one was left. But hold the phone, there’s another one coming up and because it will be the first of its kind in the country – and quite possibly, according to its producers, in the world – it just might last longer than the others.

Rev Magazine
, arguably the country’s top motoring magazine in the midst of many wannabes, recently launched "The Rev Challenge." Scheduled to start airing on Studio 23 every Tuesday at 11:30 p.m. beginning July 29, the TV show that was conceptualized by Rev magazine’s editor-in-chief Vernon B. Sarne, together with the country’s undisputed trivia master Bong Barrameda, shall be dedicated solely to the automotive industry.

We just hope our friends Vernon and Bong would consider including questions about motor sports considering that the automotive industry is the major moving spirit in today’s world of motor sports. Add to this the fact that there are, indeed, a slew of out-and-out Pinoy motor sports enthusiasts, as proven by the enormous response we have weekly on the "Toyota Know Your Formula One Contest" on the TV show Motoring Today.

An array of prizes has been lined up for the winners, and the first season’s champion (13 weeks) may just drive home a brand-new car. How about that?

Congratulations to Rev Mag’s publishers and now TV producers Lito and Grace Mendoza and here’s wishing you lots of luck in your bold move to venture into the electronic medium.
The test drive-cum-karera
As we approached the appointed site for the Toyota Vios Media Test Drive at the Global City, I heard the unmistakable sound of screeching tires of a vehicle taking a turn a little bit faster than it should, at least on these roads.

I had to get a reassurance from STV’s vice president for production, Ms. Jenny Bleza, that I did not misread the invitation sent by Toyota Motor Philippines official spokesman, Ariel "Anak" de Jesus for a test drive of their newly-launched, entry-level passenger car Vios exclusively set aside for the media. Because at the rate the tires were "crying" and considering the speed of the Vios that I was watching nimbly cornering on a 45-degree angle, this could very well have been a "Media Time Trial Event," another Media Challenge.

When I finally reached the designated area I again had to ask Toyota top marketing honcho Danny "Pareng Ringgo" Isla (got it right this time, Danny Baby) and Raymond Rodriguez, what the event was really all about.

"They are just having fun. And I can’t blame them. Driving a Vios is just like handling a well-prepared race car" was the very confident response of Danny.

But I still had to protest by saying that all the Vios that I was seeing seemed to be "purely stock" and not equipped with "roll bars," for that matter.

To which "Pareng Ringgo" gave me a very confident and reassuring smile, as if saying, "Don’t worry, buddy, they are all in safe hands."

He was not proven wrong as the "test drive" – or "test race"? – just went on without any untoward happening. True-blue racer Mike Potenciano even made a deliberate 360-degree turn to test its maneuverability to the delight of all journalists present.

I said "pass" as I came in late and was really looking forward to the "happy hour" slated at a nearby Japanese restaurant, especially when I found out that Al "Pareng Paul" Mendoza, top sports and motoring columnist of the Inquirer, was already there waiting and far ahead of us in the number of small cups of "hot saki" taken.

If it was not plain luck that Toyota had because there were no damaged cars after the event despite the punishment and the abuse that the Vios experienced from the "racing-hot" motoring journalists, which was really more because the Vios was well-balanced and reliable, I, however, cannot call it anything but luck when the heavens seemed to just open up with tons and tons of rainwater just after the Toyota Vios Media Test Drive-cum-karera was concluded last Friday afternoon.

Happy Motoring!!!

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