The Philippines’ Puerto Princesa Underground River has been declared as one of the provisional winners in the search for the new seven wonders of nature.

A day before the voting ended yesterday night, the Philippine government mounted a “last ditch” effort through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) by ordering all local government officials from governors down to barangay captains to urge Filipinos around the country to cast their vote for the underground river.

Agencies under the DILG, including the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, were also ordered to urge their members and linked groups to vote for the underground river.

The other six New 7 Wonders of Nature, based on provisional results, were South America’s Amazon River, Vietnman’s Halong Bay, Argentina’s Iguazu Fallas, South Korea’s Jeju Island, Indonesia’s Komodo Island and South Africa’s Table Mountain.

The New7Wondres Foundation, meanwhile, clarified that “it is possible that there will be changes between the above provisional winners and the eventual finally confirmed winners.”

It said that the list released early today was “in alphabetical order” and not in any position of ranking.

The foundation said that the voting calculation is now being checked, validated and independently verified. The official New 7 Wonders of Nature will be announced early 2012, it added.

“The results will now be checked, validated and independently verified. Once the voting validation process is completed, in early 2012, New7Wonders will then work with the confirmed winners to organise the Official Inauguration events,” Bernard Weber, the foundation’s founder and president, said as he announced the provisional winners.

Weber announced that “one or more” may be erased from the list of the provisional winners.

“It may happen that one or more of the provisional winners announced today will not be confirmed during the validation process, New7Wonders will issue a media update should this happen,” he said.

Weber also commended the other participants and the people who joined the voting for the search for the new seven wonders of the world.

“I would like to thank the many champions, citizens, voluntary organisations, public bodies and governments that have helped promote the New7Wonders of Nature campaign over the past four years, starting with over 440 locations from over 220 countries and all the way to the 28 Finalist candidates from whom the New7Wonders of Nature have been chosen,” he said.

The foundation said that more than a million cast their vote since the start of the search. From 440 contenders, the list was trimmed to 220 and then to a shortlist of 77.

From 77, the number of contenders was trimmed further down to 28 and finally the seven provisional winners.

The votes were cast through text, internet and by telephone. — Angelo L. Gutierrez

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