DepEd Joins Campaign for Puerto Princesa Underground River

EDucation Secretary Armin Luistro has echoed the national call to support the campaign to recognize the Puerto Princesa Underground River one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

LUistro has issued Memorandum No. 137, series 2011, to call on the entire department to work towards awareness, appreciation,  preservation and promotion of our own Puerto Princesa Underground River to be included in the New Seven Wonders of Nature (N7WN) through various activities and other initiatives.

“As a nation, what we lack in material wealth, we compensate with the richness of our natural resources, hence, we should take advantage of  this by putting our country on top of the world,” said Luistro.

THe Department of Education, known as the largest bureaucracy in Philippine government with more than 500,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel catering to around 22.05 million kindergarten, elementary and secondary students in its 55,000 public schools nationwide will be a major component of the organized Puerto Princesa Underground River – N7WN (PPUR-N7WN) Campaign Task Force.

THe Task Force is composed of the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as the chairperson and the Secretary of Tourism as the vice-chairperson. Joining DepEd as members will be heads of  various government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and Philippine Information Agency (PIA). Mayor Edward Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa, Palawan and five private sector representatives to be appointed by the Chairperson upon the recommendation of Mayor Hagedorn are also members of the task force.

“Pushing for the inclusion of the Puerto Princesa Underground River to be proclaimed as one of the New Wonders of Nature should be a binding force for all of us, Filipinos. Just like education, this campaign should not just be the sole responsibility of the government. If people can stay for long hours updating their status in the social networking sites and can spend money for mobile texting, I don’t think it will be too much for them to vote via text or on-line to ensure  our chances of making it to the top 7,” added Luistro.

FUrther, Luistro calls upon all teachers, school administrators and  personnel, students, parents, and education stakeholders to take time to vote for the Puerto Princesa Underground River.

THe creation of the task force was prompted after President Benigno S. Aquino III issued 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.

THe Proclamation intends to awaken the sense of patriotism and national pride of the 30M Filipino internet users and 77M Filipino mobile subscribers by encouraging them to support the campaign and ensure that the PPUR will make it among the New 7 Wonders of Nature on November 2011.

THe PPUR-N7WN Campaign Task Force shall formulate and undertake an  aggressive voting campaign at the national level, focusing on students and local government units (LGUs), and at the international level, especially among overseas Filipinos and nationals of other countries.

THe 8.2kilometer-long Puerto Princesa Underground River, formed 30 million years ago, is considered the longest underground river in the world, with unique and outstanding scientific, biological and geological features that merited its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1999 and as a National Geographic Monument in December 2003.

FRom an initial list of over 400 locations around the world, the Puerto Princesa Underground River is the lone finalist from the Philippines and now counts among the top 14 of the 28 Official Finalist Candidates, selected by a panel of international experts from a list of 77 contenders via the first round of global voting from 2007 to 2010. Based on the information generated from the N7WN website, Puerto Princesa Underground River is already among the Top 5 in the search for the N7WN as of May 26, 2011.

To vote, text PPUR and send to 2861or log on and register to choose Puerto Princesa Underground River among your choice of new seven wonders.

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