The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) will be celebrating a milestone as it reaches its 90th year in 2021. What started out as the Philippine Motor Association (PMA) in 1931, with just a few enthusiasts sharing their passion for cars, is now the AAP, the biggest and oldest auto club in the country with over 40,000 members.
Over the years, the original passion for cars has been supplemented with a growing commitment to promote road safety, advocate green mobility, and develop motor sport from the grassroots level. AAP is envisioned as the country’s premier auto club representing private car owners and serving the motoring public.
The past 90 years have witnessed many of AAP’s membership benefits and services becoming integral to the Philippine motoring scene.
AAP’s Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) covers almost all the expressways in Luzon. AAP deploys state-of-the-art tow trucks manned by well-trained teams who regularly undergo updated training to maintain a high standard of quality and efficiency in their work.
For nationwide ERS coverage, AAP has partnered with tried and tested local towing service providers. The Quick Response Service deploying rider mechanics was established to ensure prompt assistance in urban centers despite traffic jams.
In 1963, AAP was authorized to issue the Philippine International Driving Permit) following the policies of the 1968 Vienna Convention of the United Nations on Road Traffic and Road Signs and Signals. Those who wish to drive abroad whether for work or for leisure can get a valid, internationally recognized PIDP only from AAP.
The AAP Tower and AAP Autocare were built to provide a convenient one-stop shop for members.
Meanwhile, AAP’s Advocacy initiatives, such as FIA’s #3500Lives Stay Bright campaign, have helped educate various road users on the importance of road safety. AAP activated projects in pursuit of its commitment to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
AAP has successfully pushed for the passage of road safety legislation including the Seatbelt Use Act, Speed Limiter Act, Anti-Distracted Driving Act, among others.
As the National Sporting Authority for Motor Sport recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee, AAP promoted safety in motor sport and sanctioned motor sport events year after year along with the training of race organizers and track marshals here and abroad.
AAP’s Motor Sport Development Program has produced young race drivers who won trophies at various motor sport events locally and abroad.
In June 2018, AAP successfully hosted the 2018 FIA Sport Conference in Manila. The first world sport conference of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile to be held in Asia, it was attended by more than 300 delegates from over 246 FIA-affiliated clubs.
In the Service of the motoring public since 1931
AAP started out as the non-stock, non-profit Philippine Motor Association (PMA) organized by prominent motoring enthusiasts led by Jorge B. Vargas, the country’s first Executive Secretary, Carlos P. Romulo, the fourth and only Filipino president of the United Nations General Assembly, Albino Z. Sycip, the “Dean of Philippine Banking,” a number of American expats, and a few more big-name businessmen at the time.
In 1937, AAP started providing free emergency roadside service, free personal accident insurance and discounts at retail stores to members.
In 1951, AAP joined the Alliance Internationale de Tourisme in 1951 and in 1952, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world’s largest auto club federation and governing body for four-wheel motor sport worldwide. Recognizing the value of its services, President Elpidio Quirino officially designated AAP (then known as the PMA) as the National Auto Club in 1953.
Over the past nine decades, AAP has offered more benefits and services to motorists who became members.
This year, despite the series of lockdowns imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, AAP made sure that its services were accessible to the motoring public. AAP’s ERS remained in operation and AAP’s Autocare offered home service to members.
Facing the social media era with a new generation of motorists, AAP has renewed its dedication to adding more value to its membership. During the pandemic year, AAP boosted its digital programs and kept engaging its members through social media, text and email.
As AAP turns 90, despite all the challenges that the National Auto Club has met, AAP will remain true to one of its time-honored traditions— conducting an annual raffle as a way of giving back to its loyal members.
In main photo: From left, AAP president Gus Lagman, FIA President Jean Todt CIK-FIA President and former F1 racer Felipe Massa and FIA Deputy President for Sport Graham Stoker during the 2018 FIA Sport Conference which the AAP hosted from June 4 to 6 at Conrad Hotel in Pasay City.
Aida Sevilla Mendoza is fascinated by everything about cars: their power, styling, design, technology, craftmanship, exciting history of motor sport through the years, and the ever-evolving industry that creates them. But above all, she enjoys driving, especially on a traffic-free expressway where she feels the connection bonding her and the car.