MANILA, Philippines - A World War II tunnel in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is being developed into a historical museum and tourist site, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said on Wednesday.
The BCDA signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Museum for the development of the Bonifacio War Tunnel.
“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 and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said.
With the partnership, the Bonifacio War Tunnel is expected to be included in the country’s list of historical and tourist sites.
The Bonifacio War Tunnel is located along the eastern portion of BGC, which was previously part of Fort Bonifacio (formerly known as Fort Mckinley). The tunnel was constructed by the Americans on October 15, 1941 to prepare for the anticipated attacks of Japanese forces against the Philippines.
The Japanese further expanded the tunnel during their occupation of the Philippines. It was later used as a bomb shelter against American air raids from October 1944 to March 1945.
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.
The development of the Bonifacio War Tunnel will have two phases. The first phase will involve a feasibility study, while the second phase will involve the rehabilitation and development of the war tunnel as a museum.
Under the agreement, TIEZA will provide the funding support to complete Phases 1 and 2. A budget of P4 million has been allocated for Phase 1.
The NHCP will issue a certification that the tunnel is an important cultural property. It may also declare the tunnel as a national historical site.
The National Museum will provide technical assistance in the implementation of Phase 1 and 2, and in preparing the museum's operational plan.