Press Release
March 1, 2008

Pia bats for Tubbataha Reefs in worldwide search for 'New Seven Wonders of Nature'

Senator Pia S. Cayetano has joined the campaign to boost the chances of the famed Tubbataha Reefs of Palawan in the ongoing worldwide search for the "New Seven Wonders of Nature."

Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, is urging all Filipinos to support the Tubbataha Reefs, the only Philippine natural wonder nominated to the worldwide on-line poll.

"This global search may not be as popular or glamorous as 'American Idol' where a Filipino-American candidate is deservingly making waves, but the lone Philippine entry to the 'New Seven Wonders' also deserves the support of all Filipinos here and abroad," she said.

The lady senator first made the appeal in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan last week at the very first staging of "Bike for Nature" an advocacy bicycle ride for the environment organized by the Offices of Mayor Edward Hagedorn and Provincial Governor Joel Reyes, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Palawan Chapter, Palawan Mountain Bikers, Pilipinas Shell and Conservation International.

But Cayetano is pressing the alarm in light of the slipping position of Tubbataha in the search's live rankings which can be viewed on-line at As of March 1, Tubbataha ranked only 33rd among the Top 77 official candidates for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, slipping five rungs from its Top 28th ranking just last February 14th.

The list of nominees and the mechanics for voting are posted on the poll's official website The search is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the non-profit New Seven Wonders Foundation, which also undertook the "New Seven Wonders of the World" search that ended last year.

Filipinos can still vote for Tubbataha until December 31, 2008, after which the top 77 nominees will be submitted to a panel of experts that will put together a shortlist of 21 finalists by January 2009. A second round of popular voting for the 21 finalists will then ensue and last until the end of 2009--with the top 7 nominees being officially declared the "New Seven Wonders of the World" by the year 2010.

Other famous natural wonders nominated to the search are: Mt. Everest of Nepal, Amazon River and Amazon Forest of South America, Niagara Falls of North America, Grand Canyon of the United States, Galapagos Islands of Equador, Great Barrier Reef of Australia, Mt. Kilimanjaro of Tanzania, Mount Blanc (more popularly known as the "Alps") of France and Italy, among others.

Aside from campaigning for the acclaimed heritage site, Cayetano is also pushing for the immediate approval of a law that will declare the Tubbataha Reefs National Park (TRNP) as a protected area.

Senate Bill (SB) No.1985, which Cayetano authored, seeks to create the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB) which shall be the sole-policy making and permit granting body of the TRNP.

Under the bill, the Chairperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and the Regional Executive Director of Region IV-B of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will serve as co-chairpersons of the TPAMB.

The measure also pushes for stiffer penalties for poachers caught within the park, which Cayetano said are meant to boost the government's drive in prosecuting foreign poachers operating in Tubbataha. Under the bill, foreign poachers could be fined $100,000 and a prison term of 6 to 12 years, for the entry of fishing vessel in the TRMP. A hold departure order will also be issued as a condition for granting bail.

SBN 1985 is the product of a workshop conducted on Dec.12-13 last year with different stakeholders, including the Offices of the Provincial Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, District Representatives Abraham Kahlil Mitra and Antonio Alvarez, PCSD secretariat, Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), DENR's Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Navy and Coast Guard, World Wildlife Foundation and other non-government organizations.

News Latest News Feed