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Images courtesy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas had to do some quick damage control after it announced its first polymer bank note, a 1,000-piso issue, will be released April 22 as the first in a new series.
The face of the new bill with the Philippine eagle, symbolizing clear vision, freedom, and strength, replacing World War II heroes Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim, and Josefa Llanes Escoda, immediately created a problem. Observers on social media, led by Rep. Carlos Zarate, pointed out errors in the design. Zarate said on Twitter that the eagle’s scientific name, “Pithecophaga jefferyi” was misspelled as “Pithecophega jefforyi.” He added that it should be italicized because it is in Latin and should be differentiated from English.
The bank quickly responded that the original photo it circulated “was of a sample previously sent to the BSP for review. Necessary corrections have already been made, including the spelling and italicizing of the scientific name of the Philippine eagle.”
Additionally, the design has been criticized by an association of direct descendants of World War II veterans who are upset that the old design is being replaced.
The VFP Sons & Daughters Association Inc. said, “These heroes represent the best in the Filipino: Bravery, sacrifice and love of country. They gave their lives for the cause of freedom and democracy. They serve as role-models for our generation today.”
The back of the note, with the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is unchanged.
Also opposing the new note is the abaca industry, which says it would be greatly affected. The Philippines is the world’s leading abaca producer.
Benjamin Diokno, the bank’s governor, said the polymer was a test to see if the new material would be better than the abaca and cotton substrate currently used. The polymer note is being produced with Australian cooperation.
Inquirer.net, the website of the major Philippine newspaper, reported on Dec. 14 that the governor had a change of heart after only a week. He announced in a briefing, “The BSP will continue to print the existing P1,000 banknote featuring the three heroes, even as we circulate the new P1,000 polymer banknotes.” He added that there would be no demonetization of any denomination during his term.
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