MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night launched with economic managers the new P1,000 polymer banknote featuring the Philippine eagle in place of three World War 2 heroes, despite earlier criticisms from historians.
The new plastic banknotes, which the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said are "smarter and stronger," will be released in phases this month.
During the event, Duterte inspected the banknote with BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
"The advanced technology, intricate design, and complex security features make counterfeiting significantly more difficult and costly," the BSP said.
Diokno earlier said shifting from abaca-based paper bills to plastic or polymer bills was more environment-friendly, cost-effective, hygienic and more secure from counterfeiting.
Representatives from the Philippine fiber industry however contested this saying polymer banknotes are expensive to manufacture, not as durable or secure as claimed, and definitely not good for the environment.
Historians had also criticized the BSP for removing World War 2 heroes Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim and Josefa Llanes Escoda from the new P1,000 paper bill.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines said it was not consulted with the new P1,000-bill design.
BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonan however said they did not consult historians because no historical element was added to the banknote.
"But in this case, there is no historical element that we have put in in the new design, and then we already have the facts vetted by DENR when we reused the eagle," Tangonan explained.
"We are not going to cease the current circulation of the P1,000 banknote featuring the images of our three great heroes. So this will continue to get circulated," said the official.