MANILA, Philippines – Winners of Miss Philippines-Earth 2011 on Monday paid President Benigno Aquino III a visit in Malacañang to show their support for the government’s intensified campaign to promote Puero Princesa’s Underground River (PPUR).
The Underground River is vying to become one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Aquino, who has called on Filipinos to vote for the Underground River via text and Internet, said he expects an increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the country once Puerto Princesa’s treasure is chosen as one of the 7 new wonders of nature.
He said this would mean more jobs for Filipinos.
"In the Philippines, we have no less than 80 million cellphone users, sending nearly two billion text messages every day. All we need is one billion votes, so that is half a day. A large number of us also have access to the Internet. So, I urge everyone to take part in this democracy-in-action on behalf of our own environment," Aquino said in his speech.
"By voting online at www.new7wonders.com or by texting PPUR to 2861, we can help the Puerto Princesa Underground River, as well as the Philippines, garner a distinct spot on the international tourist map," Aquino said.
An infomercial featuring Aquino and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn campaigning for PPUR was also shown.
The President also signed Proclamation No. 182, "declaring a national and international promotion campaign for the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature."
Meanwhile, the Manila Observatory declared Puerto Princesa as the country’s first carbon-neutral city.
"The city is carbon-neutral, technically carbon-negative, meaning, it sequesters or removes more CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the environment than it emits," said Fr. Jet Villarin, president of the Ateneo de Manila University.