New 7 Wonders of Nature contest tagged as a scam; UK newspaper backs allegations of Maldives, Indonesia

GMA News Online reports that "The New Seven Wonders of Nature" contest, where the Puerto Princesa Underground River snagged a spot, "is now embroiled in a controversy involving millions of dollars in allegedly ’surprise’ fees."

GMA News Online reports that "The New Seven Wonders of Nature" contest, where the Puerto Princesa Underground River snagged a spot, "is now embroiled in a controversy involving millions of dollars in allegedly ’surprise’ fees."

GMA News Online, citing UK newspaper The Guardian, pointed out that the governments of Maldives and Indonesia "withdrew their respective entries from the contest and accused organizers of forcing them to pay up to $500,000 or P21.6 million."

In an email to GMA News Online, New7Wonders Foundation spokesperson Eamonn Fitzgerald denounced the allegations as baseless. "The key word here is 'allegedly,'" he wrote.

 

Meanwhile, a post written by a former lawyer based in the U.S. on his blog Go, See, Write reveals some very unsettling details about the "The New 7 Wonders" tilt. Among the details discussed is the man who conceptualized it-Bernard Weber, a "self-described filmmaker, aviator, and adventurer." Bottom line: Webber is accused of being a "scam artist."

 

In light of the controversy, GMA News Online sought the opinion of Department Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo, who led the task force campaigning for the Palawan tourist attraction. Robredo said the allegations are "ridiculous." He emphasized that the Philippine govenment did not cough up astronomical fees for "The New 7 Wonders of Nature" tilt.

 

According to the GMA News Online report, "the Philippine government expects the new status of the Puerto Princesa Underground River to boost tourism, with President Noynoy Aquino himself having spearheaded the campaign."

 

For more on this story, log on to GMA News Online and Go, See, Write.

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