More votes for Puerto Princesa Underground River
MANILA, Philippines—If Filipinos could text up to two billion messages a day, sparing one for Palawan should be no problem.
Officials on Friday renewed calls for the public to vote for the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature via text or online voting as competing sites from other countries passed the Philippine entry in rankings.
“Competition is getting tough. Their campaigns are led by prime ministers, so the rate of voting increased. So the President said he himself will go there and campaign for it,” said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
“It’s impossible for a country that could text up to two billion texts a day to not even share 30 percent of that,” he said on the sidelines of an all-government campaign to place the river on the world’s top 7.
The underground river is currently on 7th place out of 28 finalists, a “precarious position” as voting for other nominees has notably increased of late, officials said. Among those ahead on the list are Korea’s Jeju Island and the Maldives.
Voting via text will end on September 25 while voting online will continue until November 11 this year, the same date the seven winning sites will be announced.
Mobile phone users may send multiple votes via text (send PPUR7 or PPUR15 to 2861 for all networks) while online voting allows one vote per email address.
“This is one of the rare moments that everyone, even competitors in business like competing mobile phone networks are coming together, no political color,” Paje said.
Present in Friday’s campaign launch were Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali.
Paje said being recognized as one of the seven top sites would multiply Puerto Princesa’s tourist arrivals ten-fold. Hagedorn said the city continues to work on building more tourism facilities in the city as it anticipates a steady increase in arrivals.
Some 425,000 tourists visited the Underground River last year, up from 200,000 the year prior, Hagedorn said. The city expects up to 550,000 to visit this year.