by Pinky Concha Colmenares & Johannes L. Chua
As silent as the new engines are now designed to be, the automotive makers have been building without much fanfare a legacy that will outlive any of their machines.
Providing clean water to communities; keeping the forests healthy; upgrading driving skills for safer roads; establishing schools and training programs to teach new skills for better jobs and thus, better lives — those are among the many efforts that are establishing the legacy of the automotive makers in the Philippines.
That legacy comes under the familiar acronym — CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) — which now goes beyond “giving back” to the communities where its facilities have operated for many years.
In many ways, CSR has become “the heart under the engines.”
The Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists (SPMJ), the only group of motoring journalists who has recognized these community endeavors, for two years now, has paid tribute to the “heart under the engines.”
SPMJ calls the tribute the Driven To Serve Awards (DTS).
On Oct. 8, SPMJ launched its third search for the most outstanding CSR programs in the auto industry in the areas of community service, environment, education and training, and road safety.
Early this year, the DTS awards recognized the legacies of auto companies in the Philippines. The CSR programs tell amazing stories of good deeds.
“Operation Brotherhood” of Ford Motor Philippines was recognized with the highest honor – the Platinum Driven To Serve Award for Community Development. Ford focused on two key projects that address community development: Access to clean water and community building in Gawad Kalinga communities.
In 2017, Ford employees built three more water facilities in Nueva Ecija and Batangas to serve an additional 120 families in addition to the eight it had built the year before in the communities damaged by supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.
Hyundai’s Rainwater Harvesting System
An ingenious Rainwater Harvesting System introduced by Hyundai Asia Resources was recognized with the GOLD Award for Community Development. It provides clean drinking water to residents of Barangay Tending Kutyo in Tanay, Rizal. The system is capable of producing and storing potable water from rain gathered in roof gutters. The pilot program was launched on May 22, 2017.
Toyota’s medical and dental program
Another Gold DTS award recognized the Medical and Dental Outreach Program (MDOP) of Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation which benefited residents in Paranaque, Taguig, Santa Rosa City in Laguna.
On top of the 100,000-plus patients served by the 50-plus medical missions, Toyota is proud to claim that its MDOP has inspired hundreds of people to volunteer time to serve the communities.
Mitsubishi’s reading program
The reading habit is the focus of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines’ CSR and that was cited with the Silver DTS award for Community Development. Aside from the book-giving activity, MMPC also hosted a free art workshop for kids and adults during the Mitsubishi 100 Years Anniversary event at the World Trade Center last June 2017.
Lexus’ Children’s Hour
Another Silver DTS award was presented to Lexus Manila Incorporated for its Children’s Hour Campaign which started in 2012 and has donated funds to support projects on education, health, nutrition, and child welfare.
Care for the Environment
The Platinum DTS Award for Environment was presented to Honda for its “Tree Planting with Haribon Foundation” project. The automaker joined Haribon Foundation’s ROAD to 2020 movement to restore rainforests, planting some 40,000 trees on 28.2 hectares since the program started in 2010.
Toyota adopts a forest
Adopting a forest and taking care of it for six years now was the CSR program of Toyota Motor Philippines that was cited with the Gold DTS Award for the Environment.
The Toyota Adopt-A-Forest project has nurtured a three-hectare palm garden with 1,000 palm trees of 14 species is now a living collection of palm trees. Also, four hectares in the 10-hectare forest is now reforested with 26 species and 6,140 seedlings planted inside the Makiling Botanical Gardens.
Isuzu’s forest nurturing program
Nurturing a forest is the CSR program for the environment of Isuzu Philippines Corporation which took the Silver DTS Award.
In 2010, Isuzu adopted a 13-hectare forest inside the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (MMFR) in Los Baños, Laguna. During its first year, IPC planted more than 300 trees composed of 13 species. To encourage people to walk around, IPC constructed a 1.3-kilometer walkway for visitors and forest rangers.
Education & Training
Four auto makers were cited for their outstanding CSR projects on education and training which have equipped people with better skills for better jobs.
Honda’s 1’M Blue Campaign
Honda Cars Philippines calls its advocacy the 1’M Blue Eco-Safe Driving Campaign. Started July 2012, it aims to inspire one million drivers to commit to practice eco -safe driving in the Philippines, to address road accidents, air pollution, climate change, and energy concerns.
Isuzu’s knowledge sharing
Isuzu Philippines Corporation cals it its Knowledge Sharing project and it involves a partnership with Jacobo Z. Gonzalez Memorial School for Arts and Trade (JZGMSAT) to train the trainers specially on diesel engine technology.
The partnership, which started in June 2017, involves a donation of three Isuzu diesel engines to be used by the trainers for school demonstration and parts detailing.
Toyota’s feeding program
A feeding program was cited as Toyota’s achievement in the education category. It targets to fight hunger and malnutrition faced by thousands of poor children every day, because the situation has caused low attendance and performance in school.
At the Pulong Santa Cruz Elementary School in Santa Rosa, Laguna, TMP has been involved in a supplemental feeding program which started in school year of 2011 until the end of March 2017.
Mazda’s motorsports program
Bermaz Auto Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Mazda vehicles, took the fourth silver DTS award for its motorsports development program. Through a partnership with the Automobile Association Philippines, which is now on its third year, the company aims to enhance the participants’ driving skills.
In Road Safety, Ford Philippines again took the top Platinum DTS Award for its Driving Skills For Life project which aims to give drivers the skills for safe and smart driving that are not learned in standard driver education programs.
Established in the US in 2003 by Ford Motor Company, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts, it is Ford’s advocacy to sustain driver awareness towards traffic signs and regulations, as well as road courtesy.
Volkswagen’s Child Safety campaign
The Gold DTS Award for Road Safety was presented to Volkswagen Philippines for its Child Safety Initiative Campaign. In the Philippines, the success of the initiative, launched in 2015 with the Junior Driving Course, has led to continuing the project. In April 2017, Volkswagen Philippines launched Phase 2 of the program, “Steps to Safety,” this time focusing on pedestrian safety.
Honda’s road safety for the family
The Silver DTS Award was presented to Honda for its One Honda Road Safety program. It was developed at the Honda Safety Driving Center in Taguig, Metro Manila and was piloted in July 2016 for associates of Honda companies in the Philippines.
In 2017, the coverage expanded to the nearby communities including schools, and the two industrial parks.