June 26, 2018, 12:46 am
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FIA’s Manila conference: a boost to PH motorsports, tourism

At the turnover ceremony, seated left to right: FIA SC 2018 National Organizing Council Committee Government Sector Chair/DOT Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, FIA Sport Conference Project Director Frederique Trouve, AAP President Gus Lagman, DOT Undersecretary Allan Canizal. Standing left to right: National Organizing Council Committee Private Sector Co-Chair/AAP Trustee and Motorsport Chair Mandy Eduque, National Organizing Council Committee Private Sector Chair/AAP Trustee and Tourism and Travel Committee Chair Mina T. Gabor, FIA Events Manager Martin Lalande and DOT National Capital Region Director Cynthia Lazo. Not in photo: FIA Head of Travel Pierre-Yves Val

“EXCITED!” This was how Augusto Lagman, president of Automobile Association Philippines or AAP,  described himself after being asked how he felt about the Federacion Internationale de L’Automobile or FIA 2018 Sport Conference being held in Manila in June.

Lagman has every reason to be. Manila will only be the sixth city in the world to be given such a privilege and honor to host the prestigious event.  The first five were Goodwood in England, Munich in Germany, Mexico City, Turin in Italy and Geneva, Switzerland. This is the first time the FIA Sport Conference or FIA SC will be held in Asia.

Lagman said Germany and Japan have 20 million members each of  their respective automobile associations while AAP only has 40,000 members yet the Philippines was chosen. But Lagman said Filipinos are fond of motorsports as there are racing events in many forms being held every weekend in various parts of the country.

The FIA SC is attended by representatives from 245 FIA member organizations in 143 countries. The FIA, based in Paris, is the governing body of four-wheel motor sport worldwide.

The event will be held on June 4 to 6 in Manila where some 400 delegates from FIA National Sporting Authorities (NSAs) and mobility clubs around the world are expected to gather.

FIA Sport Conference Project Director Frederique Trouve said FIA chose Manila as it is an ideal place for developing motorsports. The event also includes the MotorEx or Motor Exhibition offering an industry-themed showcase and platform for the analysis of future trends and opportunities in motor sport and featuring key decision-makers, event promoters and leading figures from racing and rallying.

As the FIA’s NSA in the Philippines, the AAP will host the Conference with the support of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and corporate sponsors including Petron as the official fuel partner, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation (BMW Philippines) and Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. as logistics partners.

On February 14, Trouve formally turned over the hosting of the 2018 FIA SC to AAP President Gus Lagman in the presence of FIA Events Manager Martin Lalande , DOT Undersecretary Allan Canizal, and co-chairpersons of the 2018 FIA SC  National Organizing Council Committee: Government Sector Chairperson/DOT Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre, Private Sector Chairperson/AAP Trustee and Tourism and Travel Committee Chairperson Mina T. Gabor and Private Sector Co-Chairperson/AAP Trustee and Motor Sport Chairperson Mandy Eduque.

“AAP has been very active in participating in FIA conferences and we have seen their loyalty and motivation in promoting motor sport among the youth through efforts such as the Motor Sport Development Program,” Trouve said. “They have also organized many activities in terms of training in road safety.”

At this year’s Sport Conference, the FIA plans to integrate road safety with motor sport. “We need to educate the new generation about motor sport.” Trouve said “One of the most difficult things to do is to attract the youth to the sport and we aim to do this through road safety.”

Aside from the MotorEx, Lalande said that the schedule will include a seminar for senior officials in the region before the conference.

 Other possible activities are an extrication demo and motor sport activities like drifting, auto cross, slalom, e-karting and/or the FIA-certified online Gran Turismo Asian Regional Finals Championship. The FIA plans to invite school children to the extrication demo and some motor sport events aside from opening selected activities to the general public. 

Former DOT Secretary Gabor said the FIA event will be good not just for motorsport but also for tourism. This early, the committee she heads is already drawing up plans for post-conference tours for delegates. Gabor also welcomed the inclusion of road safety as part of the event’s discussions as it is a major component of travel.

Lagman also gave us an insight on how the hosting possibility was hatched. It was when he introduced FIA president Jean Todt to San Miguel Corporation president Ramon S. Ang who exchanged notes about their collection of cars. The informal meeting led to a suggestion of holding the FIA SC in Manila.  DOT Undersecretary Canizal also liked the idea and committed the government’s support to the project.

In 2010, Hollywood star and the United Nations Ambassador for road safety came to Manila to promote helmets for children with the AAP. Asked if Yeoh will also attend the conference, Lagman said it was possible. He also said some Formula 1 drivers and personalities may also make a side trip to Manila when the conference happens. And this will make the 2018 FIA SC more exciting!
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