State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said it would develop Bonifacio War Tunnel into a historical museum and tourist site.
BCDA recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Museum to preserve the Bonifacio War Tunnel and develop it into a tourism site.
Under the agreement, TIEZA will provide the funds to complete the two phase of the project. For Phase 1, a budget of P4 million has been allocated and approved by the TIEZA’s mother agency the Department of Tourism.
The first phase will involve a feasibility study that aims to, among others, prepare the rehabilitation plan, marketing plan and study, as well as an operations plan. Phase 2 will involve the rehabilitation and development of the war tunnel as a museum.
“Our objective is to preserve the Bonifacio War Tunnel as a historical structure and to develop it into a tourism site that would complement Fort Bonifacio’s rich historical heritage,” BCDA president Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said.
The NHCP will issue a certification that the tunnel is an important cultural property (ICP). It will also process the possible declaration of the tunnel as a national historical site.
Similarly, the National Museum will provide technical assistance in the implementation of the project, and in preparing the operational plan of the museum.
Both the NHCP and National Museum will also provide technical assistance in drafting the terms of reference.
The Bonifacio War Tunnel is located along the eastern portion of Bonifacio Global City (BGC). BGC used to be part of Fort Bonifacio, or what used to be called Fort McKinley. The tunnel was constructed by the Americans on October 15, 1941 in preparation for the anticipated invasion by Japan.
The Japanese expanded the tunnel during their occupation of the Philippines, using the tunnel as a bomb shelter against American air raids from October 1944 to March 1945.
Fort McKinley was later transferred to the Philippine government after the country gained independence from the Americans in 1949. The fort was renamed Fort Bonifacio and became the headquarters of the Philippine Army.
Of the original full 2.2 kilometers length of the tunnel, an estimated 730 meters remain unaffected by the development of Fort Bonifacio as of 2013.