The new P1,000 bank note design that featured a Philippine eagle in place of three Filipino heroes has been unveiled.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas posted photos of the design on Facebook on April 6.
“Nandito na siya! Ipinakikilala ang makabagong sanlibong piso, ang 1000-Piso polymer banknote,” the BSP said.
On the graphic, BSP also described the polymer-based bill as “smarter, cleaner and stronger.”
The P1,000 bill, the highest banknote so far, currently carries the faces of three Filipino World War II heroes on the front side. These are Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim and Josefa Llanes Escoda.
BSP’s post drew 31,000 reactions, 2,300 comments and 15,000 shares on the platform. The reactions were mostly positive with 13,000 likes, 11,000 heart emojis and 5,700 shocked emojis.
The comments section, however, contained mixed reactions from social media users.
Some Filipinos praised the Philippine eagle feature on the bill.
“The Philippine Eagle is the symbol of our nationality, environment and heritage, it is fitting to be placed in a thousand peso bill, it is the living treasure of our nation, a symbol of hope, its struggles of surviving from extinction,” one Facebook user said.
Others also lauded the use of polymer for printing.
“Yes to this. Polymer is resistant to water and hard to counterfeit,” one user said.
Some, however, perceived that the images of the martyrs should not be removed in the first place.
“While I’m all for showcasing our natural resources, national bird, and etc; I think it is most sacred to honor our fellow men who put their lives on the line for our freedom, national sovereignty, and preservation as a nation,” one Facebook user said.
Others suggested that the Philippine eagle and other natural wonders of the country can be showcased on the reverse side instead.
“I like the Eagle very cool. I also think other bank notes should show the natural wonders of the country at least on the reverse side,” one Facebook user said.
“The Banknotes can still use the image of heroes and at the reverse put the image of the distinct Philippines animals. We don’t have to change the bills with pictures of our heroes,” another user commented.
The importance of the martyrs
The University of the Philippines History Department was among the groups who earlier disapproved the proposed P1,000 bill without the Filipino martyrs.
In a statement last December, the department emphasized how the national currency is an effective, practical means to teach the legacies of Filipino heroes to the public.
“Our national currency is a vital yet practical means to disseminate the memory and legacies of these three heroes and to ensure these are kept alive and relevant,” the department said.
“Jose Abad Santos, Josefa Llanes Escoda and Gen. Vicente Lim were already exemplary citizens even before the war,” it added.
Living relatives of these martyrs also previously joined the opposition of historians on this move.
BSP’s goals for the Philippine currency
In a statement, BSP expressed hope that this bill will be less prone to counterfeits in the future.
“The advanced technology, intricate design, and complex security features make counterfeiting significantly more difficult and costly,” the institution said.
The central bank also stated that it will be printing ten million pieces of this P1,000 bill as part of its limited circulation test later this 2022.
In its 2021 annual report, BSP explained that this test run is to assess the bill’s benefits. This includes the effects of polymerization on environmental sustainability, durability hygiene, public health and counterfeiting.