Honda Safety Driving Center (HSDC) formally opened its doors to the public in a simple ceremony at its training facility in Bicutan, Parañaque. DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza and LTO Chief Alberto Suansing led the government, media and private sector representatives in formally declaring the facility open in accepting Filipino riders and drivers who are interested in learning motorcycle riding and automobile driving right away.

HSDC was set up from a seed fund donated by Asian Honda Motor Company of Thailand, Honda Philippines, Inc. (motorcycle arm) and Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (automobile arm). It is a non-stock, non-profit foundation geared at promoting traffic safety education in response to the growing number of road accidents and fatalities.

On hand to witness the ceremony were Hideo Chiba, GM of Driving Safety Promotion Center, Honda Motor Co., Ltd (Japan), Yoshihisa Saito, Managing Director of Singapore Safety Driving Center and Alaksh Phornprapha, Managing Director of A.P. Honda (Thailand).

"The establishment of the Center as a non-stock, non-profit company is deeply rooted from our company's philosophy of delivering safety with every vehicle. Our responsibility must not end in supplying the market with safe vehicles. We should make it our job to impart road discipline, driving safety techniques and even proper vehicle maintenance. Customers have placed their trust in us so we are concerned about their safety on the road, " explained Kazuhiko Ikezoe, President of HSDC.

The Center's expansive track effectively combines automobile and motorcycle instruction, where safety mindset and driving proficiencies are developed in a controlled environment. This integrated approach gives automobile and motorcycle learners the opportunity to interact; therefore, allowing learners to understand road courtesy, driving discipline and safety maneuvers while their confidence are being developed. This is contrary to the current practice in the Philippines where student-drivers do public road driving in the raw.

Motorcycle courses include figure-of-8, crank, narrow plank, slalom, and bumpy path. These exercises are intended to develop essential skills on balancing, negotiating bends, braking and throttle control in varying speeds. Automobile courses, on the other hand, consist of the S-course, crank, slopes, and various parking exercises - where knowledge and skills on analytical and precision driving are being cultivated.

Mindful of the existing terrain and weather conditions in the Philippines, wet surface braking and dirt courses are incorporated in the track so proper handling of automobiles and motorcycles in various slippery and debris-filled road conditions may be taught through first-hand experience of slippage in a safe setting.

The Center offers Basic Motorcycle Riding Safety Course, Automobile Learners Safety Course, Fleet Safety Driving and Riding Clinic, and Skills Certification for Drivers and Riders. All these programs will be handled by well-trained instructors who have just completed their one-month instructorship training under the supervision of the best trainors from Rainbow Motor School (RMS) in Japan and Bukit Batok Driving Center (BBDC) in Singapore.

One notable characteristic of HSDC is its being highly-mobile. It can dispatch instructors anywhere in the Philippines with the aim of reaching as many road users as possible. This is part of what the Center calls as its "outreach" program.

"Since HSDC is deemed as our obligation to the Philippine society, it welcomes everyone and anyone. It is also open to other players in the industry as Honda is willing to forge partnerships in the interest of road safety. Advocacy of this nature must involve collaboration among industry players, motorcycle and automobile dealers, members of private sector and concerned government agencies. When that happens, we can achieve a healthier motor vehicle industry and a more robust economy for the Philippines as road accidents will be prevented and the traffic situation will be improved," emphasized Ikezoe when asked if HSDC is exclusive to Honda owners.

True to its slogan of "Building a Community of Safe Road Users", the Center also launched its Corporate Partnership Program during the opening ceremonies. The scheme is aimed at encouraging companies to exercise their corporate social responsibility in a unique yet very effective way.

To ensure continued expansion and implementation of road safety initiatives, the Center seeks the support of good corporate citizens in funding this worthy cause.

In exchange for donations which may come in cash or kind, billboard panels in various sizes in highly-visible locations may be used by the corporate partner for branding purposes. This will be very helpful to HSDC in its bid to aggressively propagate road safety education to more Filipino road users - children, commuters and señior citizens included.

"The Honda Safety Driving Center is long-time dream. Now that we have established this facility, we face the bigger challenge of sustaining this notable endeavor. To this end, HSDC is inviting companies to join our community os road safety advocates. We, the members of the private sector, are actually the ones who will benefit from roads that are notches safer and with less traffic," appealed Arnel Doria, General Manager of HSDC.

HSDC is the 33rd traffic education center operated by Honda on a global scale. These efforts are in line with the company goal of making Honda a company that society wants to exist.

For inquiries, the Center is located at Km. 17, East Service Road, South Superhighway, Parañaque City or it may be reached at tel. nos. (632)837-2355; (632)838-5355 and mobile nos. (0920)952-7717; (0917)500-0232.