COA: Revive Corregidor as tourist spot

By Ben Rosario 

The Commission on Audit (COA) is urging the Corregidor Foundation Inc. to develop Corregidor as one of the country’s largest tourist draws, similar to Singapore’s Sentosa island.

COA said the CFI should consider inviting more investors to open new hotels, a golf course, water recreational facilities and other tourist attractions.

In the 2018 CFI annual audit report released this week, COA lamented the fading popularity of Corregidor as a tourist destination which is endowed with natural beauty and World War II relics that tell countless moving stories about the heroism of Filipino and American soldiers.

“However, even with its immense historical value, Corregidor Island needs substantial upgrading before it can be marketed with the slogan, ‘It’s more fun in Corregidor island,” COA noted.

COA said the 5.49 square-kilometer island on the mouth of Manila Bay has been overshadowed by other tourist destinations because of “CFI’s lack of infrastructure and additional attractions, lack of promotion and lack of funds.”

It noted that the island belongs to “this genre” of Philippine islands that are “naturally rich, culturally diverse and historically precious.”

Tourism operations in Corregidor are being managed by the CFI which was created by the Philippine Tourism Authority in 1987.

COA noted that in the past five years CFI’s development plans were “not translated into projects.”

“To date, there is only one hotel and one transportation service to and from the island. Tourist attraction is confined to the ruins or relics of World War II,” it said.

The low turnout of tourists of about 5,200 per month from 2013 to 2017 has resulted in a net loss of P13.294 million in 2018, or an average of P8.321 million losses in the preceding four years.

“Although the primary purpose of CFI is to develop the island as a tourist destination and not to generate revenue, financial profit or loss directly reflects whether or not the island was developed remarkable enough to be a tourist destination,” COA said.

Auditors asked CFI to consider expanding the island’s attractions by putting up bigger museum, mini parks, golf course, game rides and other land and water recreational and relaxation facilities.

COA said putting up additional hotels and restaurants can attract more visitors.

It called on the CFI to “draw inspiration from the Sentosa Island of Singapore that was once a British military base and Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. The 4.72 square kilometer Singapore historical site has become one its major tourism draws.

Corregidor is larger than Sentosa and is easily accessible by boat from Manila, Bataan and Cavite.

COA said the hotel and ferry service owner, reportedly belonging to only one company, should start initiating promotional programs.

The agency called on the CFI to actively coordinate with the TPB, Department of Tourism, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the private sector to come up with a master plan to develop the island’s tourism potentials.