October 1, 2012

BCDA to Restore Fort Bonifacio War Tunnel

Under the glitzy commercial and residential establishments of Bonifacio Global City is a 2.24 kilometer-long tunnel referred to by the military as the Fort Bonifacio War Tunnel. If historians are indeed correct, construction of the tunnel began in the early 1900's, sometime after the conclusion of the Filipino-American War. The tunnel first served as an “underground highway” and used to transport military supplies like food, medicine and equipment to American soldiers based in Fort McKinley, later renamed as Fort Bonifacio.

At some point, General Douglas MacArthur ordered that the tunnel be expanded. The good General was planning on making the tunnel his headquarters as well as stockroom for military supplies. The tunnel was also intended as a shelter for the troops in case the Japanese decided to launch an air strike over then Fort McKinley.

The Japanese army also had a part in the creation of the tunnel. When they invaded and occupied the country in World War II, they took control of the tunnel and made use of forced labor to further expand it.

The Cordilleran Connection
It is believed that majority of the work force who built the tunnel were Cordillerans. The Americans brought in miners from the Cordillera region to build the tunnel. 

Restoration
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority or BCDA is reportedly planning on restoring and rehabilitating the underground tunnel. The tunnel was actually partly rehabilitated in 1976. A public museum was even built there called the Philippine Army Museum and Library Complex. However, this establishment was torn down in 1995 as a result of the commercialization and privatization of the former military camp. Since then, the tunnel remained under the shadows. Until now, with the BCDA unveiling its plans for it.





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