As automobiles move our lives in many evident ways, working quietly in the background are many more of their efforts that often go unrecognized. This year, the programs that have helped people, communities, and natural resources around the country were recognized at the ‘Driven To Serve’ awards held by the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists (SPMJ) last February 23 at the Resorts World Manila in Paranaque.

The awards cited the outstanding corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects of the auto industry in a formal dinner attended by representatives of the country’s car companies, the judges and friends of SPMJ, and was highlighted by a message from Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, president of CAMPI.

The Programs were categorized into Community Development, Environment Protection, Training and Education, and Road Safety. The evaluation of the progress and effects of the CSR projects was undertaken a panel of judges. They are: Edgardo Gapuz Lacson, chairman of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines; Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., honorary chairman and treasurer of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dr. Cristina D. Padolina, president and chief academic officer of the Centro Escolar University; Rodrigo E. Franco, president and CEO of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC); Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio, president of of Aeropagus Communications; and Millie F. Dizon, the local chairperson of the International Public Relations Association (IPREA), and the senior vice-president of the marketing communications group of SM Retail.

In the Community Development category, SPMJ gave the platinum Driven to Serve award to Toyota Motor Philippines for its Toyota - City of Santa Rosa – Gawad Kalinga Village. The silver awards went to Ford Philippines for “Operation Better World” and Nissan Philippines, Inc. which partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild homes in the areas hit by typhoon Yolanda.

Under the Road Safety category, Ford Philippines took the platinum award with its ‘Driving Skills for Life (DSFL)’ program. The gold awardees were Volkswagen Philippines, for its Child Safety Initiative; and Honda Cars Philippines for its 1’M Blue Eco Safe Driving project.

For the Education and Training category, Toyota Motor Philippines received the Platinum award for its TMP School of Technology. The gold award was presented to Isuzu Philippines Corporation for its Isuzu-Tesda Auto Mechanic Training Center in Tacloban, Leyte. PGA Cars was given the silver award for its Porsche Training and Recruitment Center Asia.

Toyota Motor Philippines was awarded the gold citation in the Environment category with its Philippine Peñablanca Sustainable Reforestation project. Meanwhile, silver awards were given to Isuzu Philippines Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation.

Next year, the SPMJ hopes to continue promoting the development of a more caring motoring industry by holding the second ‘Driven to Serve’ awards. SPMJ hopes that by continuing to recognize these actions, it can spur more corporations to follow in their footsteps as well as encourage those already engaged in such projects.

The SPMJ is composed of columnists and journalists in the print, broadcast and online media, an organization that started in 2002. The group is known for its road safety advocacy that has produced a manual for classroom instruction. It has also conducted more than 50 workshops for students and training sessions for teachers based on the Road Safety for Children manual.