BCDA to develop war tunnel in TaguigBy Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines – A war tunnel in Taguig City built in the early 1900s that served as military headquarters and storage of war supplies will soon be developed as a heritage site by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova announced Thursday that the rehabilitation of the Fort Bonifacio Tunnel will start by next year or early 2014.
He said, however, that there were no figures yet as to how much it would cost.
The original tunnel’s length was about 2.24 kilometers with 32 built-in chambers and two passable exits, one leading to Pembo village and the other to East Remo village.
A 730-meter segment of the tunnel remained preserved, which sits underneath C-5 road near a shopping mall in Bonifacio Global City.
The underground passageway, located 30 meters from the surface of the eastern portion of the Bonifacio Global City, was first constructed during the World War II. It was first dug up in 1936 after the Philippine Commonwealth by Igorots, under the directive of General Douglas MacArthur who served as military adviser to former President Manuel Quezon.
It also served as MacArthur’s headquarters and stockroom.
During World War II in 1941, the Japanese forces took over the tunnel and expanded it to include an additional exit at Villamor Air Base.
In 1945 at the end of the war, American soldiers were able to flush out troops from the tunnel.
In mid 1970s, Army Commanding General Major General Fortunato Abat initiated the rehabilitation of the tunnel, and then was eventually recognized as part of the Philippine Army Museum and Library Complex.
Casanova said the project aims to contribute to people’s understanding and appreciation of the history of the former military camp Fort Bonifacio, now known as Bonifacio Global City.
He added that it will not only contribute to the tourism industry but will also showcase the rising business district’s heritage as a former military base land.
“Part of the beauty of each city is its history. And we aim to preserve the rich legacy in all the sites we develop,” he said.