Last December 11, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced the new design for the P1,000 bill that caused quite a backlash online. The three World War II heroes will be replaced with the Philippine eagle starting mid-next year. What prompted the redesign and when exactly should you expect to find this banknote in circulation?
Philippine eagle on the P1,000 bill
LOOK: Here’s the BSP’s new design for the ₱1,000 bill already approved by the Monetary Board, Office of the President. It will feature flora and fauna instead of Filipino heroes.
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) December 11, 2021
It looks like BSP will be replacing the faces of our World War II heroes — Josefa Llanes Escoda, Vicente Lim, and Jose Abad Santos — with a single Philippine eagle on the P1,000 bill. Over the past decade, we’ve seen several changes in the design and even form of our bills and coins: the P1,000 banknote upgrade that made everyone suspicious if they’re holding fake bills, the P20 bill transforming into a coin, the P5 coin redesign, and more. But it seems like this latest change has raised more eyebrows than usual.
Why is this redesign happening?
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno explained last weekend why we’re replacing our heroes with the Philippine eagle on the P1000 bill. “The new series will focus on fauna and flora in the Philippines,” he said, elaborating on the new look. He also added that BSP themselves came up with the new design and it was approved by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, BSP’s Monetary Board, and the Office of the President.
A sustainable effort
Gawa sa polymer ang bagong disenyo ng 1,000-peso bill na may Philippine Eagle. Susubukan pa lang ito upang malaman kung may makukuhang benepisyo gaya ng nakita sa mga ibang bansang gumagamit nito katulad ng Singapore at Australia.
— News5 (@News5PH) December 13, 2021
The banknote’s design isn’t the only thing that’s changing. Diokno said that it will be made from water and dirt-resistant polymer instead of cotton and abaca. According to the BSP, polymer is more sustainable, durable, and cost-effective. These will be produced by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
When should we expect this change?
Whether you like it or not, the P1000 bill with the Philippine eagle will be rolled out by the fourth week of April 2022. Back in October, BSP announced that they will be releasing 500 million bills as part of a test for its adoption. This time next year, expect it to be in circulation, maybe even being handed to you as aguinaldo.
But not everyone is happy with the redesign
LOOK: House deputy minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on polymer P 1,000 bank note: The BSP should correct the scientific name of the Philippine eagle as Pithecophaga jefferyi. The one they wrote on the new bill was Pithecophaga jefforyi. | @JMAurelioINQ pic.twitter.com/rxqHXVVZOI
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) December 11, 2021
Understandably, introducing something new will always be met with hesitation and resistance. The P1,000 banknote change isn’t exempt. House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list) expressed his dismay over replacing our heroes. While he stressed that featuring Philippine flora and fauna is great, it shouldn’t be at the expense of “our heroes who stood and fought for our rights and liberty.”
“Eliminating our heroes from them is a way of erasing them from the Philippine psyche,” he also added. Zarate pointed out that the new design had “glaring errors” including the misspelling of the Philippine eagle’s scientific name. It has since been corrected. He also called the redesign a “revisionist makeover” and said that BSP was helping those “who are now aggressively trying to revise our history.”
Some Pinoys don’t want it to happen
Historian Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo took to Facebook to call for everyone’s help. Benipayo is Jose Abad Santos’ great-grandniece and the writer and producer of the documentary feature film Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos.
“Love of country, self-sacrifice, and valor are but a few of the values that the Filipinos are reminded of every time they see the three World War II heroes on the 1k bill, something that the Philippine Eagle despite its majesty and splendor, cannot replace,” Benipayo wrote. “Most importantly, the 1k bill is the only paper bill featuring martyrs, not politicians. So it’s really sad to see them go. It’s very telling how this government treats our war heroes and martyrs.”
Benipayo asked Diokno why they didn’t just add the Philippine eagle at the back of the P1000 bill. She also called on her WWII historian colleagues and friends from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to stand with her.
Other netizens speak out
Pinoy netizens expressed their dismay online, calling the redesign “unnecessary” and “politicized,” with some theorizing that the end game of this redesign was simply to get rid of Ninoy Aquino’s portrait in the P500 bill. Many suggested that instead, BSP should improve our coins since the current P20, P10, P5, and P1 all look alike.
There’s a petition you can sign
What do you think of the Philippine eagle on the P1,000 bill? Share your thoughts in the comments section!