The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Saturday, December 11, 2021, released the new design of the 1000 peso bill, replacing the three significant figures Josefa Llanes Escoda, Vicente Lim, and Jose Abad Santos with a monkey-eating eagle, which is endemic to the Philippines.
“For the record, here’s how the new P1,000-piso would look like. It was designed by BSP and approved by NHI (National Historical Institute). Its issuance has been approved by the Monetary Board and the Office of the President,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno told reporters in a Viber group message.
It will be made from water and dirt-resistant polymer as BSP said that it’s more hygienic, sustainable, durable, and cost-effective and will be rolled out on the fourth week of April 2022.
When Diokno was asked why the personalities in the bill were replaced, he said, “The new series will focus on fauna and flora in the Philippines.”
The Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga Jefferyi), also known as the monkey-eating eagle or great Philippine Eagle — is a critically-endangered species of eagle. It is one of the rarest bird in the world as its estimated population is fewer than 500. The country declared that the Philippine Eagle as the national bird in 1995.
But not everyone is affirmative to the decision of the BSP, Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna Party-list) emphasized the "glaring errors" in the new banknote, including a misspelling of the Philippine Eagle's scientific name.
"The BSP made almost the same mistake in 2010, thus, it is lamentable that the same mistake is repeated. We trust that prior to the printing of the new notes, these mistakes will be corrected, so as not to waste funds or resources," Zarate said.
Moreover, to replace the World War II heroes is a disrespect to their contributions in the past that makes the Philippine society a better place.
Josefa Llanes Escoda is famously known for fighting and campaigning for women’s suffrage and as a founder of the Girl’s Scouts of the Philippines.
Vicente Podico Calamba is a Filipino brigadier general, the first Filipino graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, and a World War II hero.
Jose Abad Santos y Basco is the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines who was captured by the Japanese as they imputed him for the destruction of public works in Cebu. The Japanese wanted Abad Santos to swear allegiance to the Japanese flag. "I would rather die than be a traitor," he said bravely to his captors. "I would prefer to die rather than live in shame." His last words before he was shot to Death were "Do not cry, Pepito, show to these people that you are brave. It is an honour to die for one's country. Not everybody has that chance".
The remarkable individuals on this peso bill serve as a daily reminder to the Filipino people about the love of the country, self-sacrifice, service above self, and valor, something that the Philippine Eagle despite its beauty and magnificence, cannot take the place.
The current design is the only bill that features martyrs and not politicians. Why not instead place the Philippine Eagle at the back of the bill to still highlight its importance and at the same time still keep the 3 heroes on the bill.
Regardless, the Philippine Eagle in the 1000 Peso bill will only backfire on the telltale that we wanted to focus on the flora and fauna of the country if we cant's even give priorities to the bills passed in the congress that is ought to protect these animals and their environment from the threats of climate change, human destructions, and industrialization.
Besides, placing them as a replacement to the national heroes on the bill without a strong implementation of the bill, specifically the Republic Act No. 6147 or the “Act Declaring The Pithecophaga Jefferyi Commonly Known As Monkey-Eating Eagle As A Protected Bird In The Philippines, Providing For The Preservation Of The Same And Authorizing The Appropriation Of Funds For The Purpose” will only defeat the reason of the BSP on focusing to the Philippines’ flora and fauna.