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Aquino leads online voting for Puerto Princesa underground river

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III on Monday led the text and internet voting to help the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) be named as one of the seven wonders of nature. In his speech during the official proclamation launch of the PPUR as one of the 28 finalists in the search for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Aquino urged the country's 80 million cellphone subscribers to type PPUR and send it to 2861. “We send two billion text messages a day, all we need is one billion text votes for the Puerto Princesa Underground River so (we can accomplish) that in half a day," the President said. “I’m urging everyone again, sorry if I’m sounding makulit, I urge everyone to vote to the maximum for the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Let us make the PPUR one of the New Seven Wonders of the World," he reiterated. Filipinos can also vote for PPUR through the internet by going to the website, the President said. “Voting would take mere seconds but the benefit to our people will last a lifetime," Aquino said as he emphasized the importance of supporting PPUR in the contest. He said PPUR’s inclusion in the search would boost the tourism in the area and will in turn create opportunities to the people there. “We can help the PPUR as well as the entire Philippines garner a distinct spot in the international tourist spot. While winning the place in the top seven bolsters our sense of national pride, recognition is not the only thing we can get, we must also remember that the tourists we can potentially attract will redound to thousands of employment opportunities," he said. He believed that the 3.52 million total visitor arrival last year will increase with PPUR’s inclusion in the top seven spot. “The possible benefits of being one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature are enormous especially for the tourism industry," Aquino said. If the PPUR garners a spot, the amount of tourists visiting here will obviously skyrocket, new facilities, flights and tours will be created, new job opportunities will be created for local community," Aquino added. The 8.2 kilometer PPUR, believed to be formed some 30 million years ago, is considered as the longest underground river in the world with unique and outstanding scientific, biological, and geological features. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1999 and declared as a National Geological Monument in December 2003. Recently, a group of scientists and explorers from La Venta Geographical Exploration discovered a well-preserved fossil of a sea mammal of the Miocene Age, some 20 million years ago, confirmed by paleontologists as Sirenea or sea cow. - VVP, GMA News