After being closed to the public for six months, Boracay is once again open to tourists. With many set to flock the island resort in the coming months, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) decided to give a helping hand to the local transport community.
With help from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and Grab Philippines, IPC turned over several units of their modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) to the Boracay Local Transport Group (BLTG) last October 26 at the island's Bolabog Terminal.
In attendance during the turnover ceremony were key executives and personnel from IPC, DOTr, Grab, and Almazora. These included DOTr Assistant Secretary Manny Gonzales, Head of Strategic Supply for Grab PH Laurence Bahia, IPC president Hajime Koso, and Almazora Motors executive vice president Conrad Almazora.
The PUVs that will be seeing duty in Boracay are the Class II QKR77 made by Almazora. It gets side-facing seats that can accommodate more than 22 passengers, and is also capable of carrying standees. It even comes with creature comforts and security features like CCTV cameras, hand rails and a LCD screen that can show ads or other types of media.
Powering the PUV is a Euro IV-compliant 3.0-liter turbo-diesel that benefits from BluePower technology. The engine puts out 106 PS at 3200 rpm with 230 Nm of torque at 1400 - 3200 rpm. Power is then transferred to a five-speed manual transmission that drives the rear wheels. Both the front and rear suspension sit on multi-leaf springs while the braking system consist of drum brakes all around.
To ensure that both locals and tourists remain comfortable while inside the PUVs, all units are equipped with an air-conditioning system that keeps the cabin cool. For added safety, the PUVs also have fire extinguishers and carry provisions for persons with disabilities.
Initially, only three units of Isuzu’s PUVs will operate in Boracay. In the future however, they are looking to have a fleet of 60 units going around the island which will be operated by Grab. All of the PUVs will ply along the Boracay Circumferential Road.
“I congratulate all concerned individuals and organizations in the public and private sectors for pooling their efforts to restore Boracay's place among the world's most beautiful islands. IPC is most certainly proud to share its expertise and world-class vehicles with the people of the island. Our modernized PUVs are very much aligned with the government's vision of a modern, safe, efficient, cost-effective and environment-friendly transport system not only for Boracay, but for the entire Philippines,” said Koso.
As an added bonus, locals and tourists alike can take a ride in the PUVs for free until the end of the year. There is no word yet as to how much will be the fare come next year.