Design for P500 bill with Aquino couple out soon

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 06 2010 12:57 AM | Updated as of Jan 06 2010 08:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to print the redesigned banknotes and coins within the year after getting the approval of President Arroyo.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. told Tuesday Club members at their breakfast meeting on Tuesday that the redesigned banknotes and coins would include the new P500 bill that would include a portrait of the late President Corazon Aquino beside former Sen. Benigno Aquino.

Tetangco said that the BSP is choosing between three favorite photographs of the late Chief Executive that would be included in the design of the new P500 bill.

He explained that the photo to be placed on the proposed P500 billion would be given to the family of the late president for their approval.

The numismatic committee composed of central bank officials led by Bangko Sentral Deputy Gov. Diwa Guinigundo with representatives from the national historical commission, including Ambeth Ocampo and Dr. Jimmy Laya are finalizing the design of the new banknotes and coins.

“We have looked at several designs. This will require presidential approval,” Tetangco added.

He said the new banknotes and coins would feature national wonders.

According to him, the central bank hopes to get the approval of President Arroyo on the design of the new banknotes and coins before her term expires in June.

Tetangco said the old banknotes and coins would still be considered legal tender as the replacement would be gradual.

Last year, the central bank announced that it was contemplating a massive facelift for banknotes and coins to further enhance security features and improve durability.

“The original design of the banknotes and coins was made 3 decades ago,” the BSP chief said.

Currently, there are seven banknotes and seven coins with portraits of national heroes and prominent figures or their numerical value in front and historical landmarks or events for bills or the BSP logo or name for coins in the back.

The yellow P500 bill was first issued in 1987 and features former Senator Aquino who was assassinated in 1983 and a “Philippine Unity” tableau.

National heroes and prominent figures in peso bills include Jose Abad Santo, Josefa Llanes Escoda, Gen. Vicente Lim, former President Diosdado Macapagal and his daughter current President Arroyo, President Manuel Roxas, President Sergio Osmeña, President Manuel Quezon, Mabini, and Emilio Aquinaldo.

Those in the coins include Apolinario Mabini, Andres Bonifacio, and Jose Rizal.

There are 6 banknotes currently in circulation, including the blue-colored P1,000 bill which features World War II heroes Jose Abad Santos, Josefa Llanes Escoda and Gen. Vicente Lim introduced in 1991; the yellow P500 bill with the late Sen. Aquino introduced in 1987; and the green P200 with the later President Macapagal and current President Arroyo issued in 2002.

There is also the purple P100 with President Roxas issued in 1987; the red P50 with President Osmeña introduced in 1987; and the orange P20 with former President Quezon issued in 1986.

The brown P10 with Mabini first issued in 1985 and the P5 bill with Emilio Aguinaldo are no longer being produced but are still legal tender.

Fe dela Cruz, director of BSP’s Corporate Affairs Office, said the BSP would use the same colors of the old banknotes to avoid confusion but pointed out that the new notes and coins would have enhanced security features.

“You have to be ahead of the counterfeiters,” Dela Cruz added.