MANILA, Philippines - Design Systemat, the designer of the country's new bank notes, defended the new peso bill designs.
Design Systemat President Lito Buñag said the elements in the new bills were intended to represent cultural icons and were not accurate renditions of reality. He said the design does not diminish the value of the cultural icons.
"Bank note printing is not like printing a brochure," he said.
Critics lashed at the new peso bills, pointing out that the Philippine maps appearing on them excluded Batanes Islands and misplaced one of the country's top tourist draws, the Tubbataha Reef.
The 500-peso denomination also featured a rare native bird -- the blue-naped parrot -- with its red beak incorrectly rendered in yellow.
The central bank on Tuesday welcomed "constructive" comments on the new peso bills, but said it was still launching the bank notes despite supposed errors.
"We know that as in all major undertakings, there will be questions raised, as well as very specific recommendations on how it should be," the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a statement.
"[But] We take pride in our newly-designed banknotes that honor Filipinos who played significant roles at various moments of our nation’s history as well as the world heritage sites and iconic natural wonders we are proud of as Filipinos," it added.
The BSP reiterated that the bank notes "used an artist's rendition or abstraction of the Philippine map that cannot be expected to reflect all of our islands and the precise coordinates of each site."
On the blue-naped parrot, it said printing limitations prevented them from reflecting the real colors. "This is not an error therefore but a function of printing capability limitation."
The new generation of the Philippine bills, containing President Aquino's signature, will be released to the public by Christmas.
The BSP said it was in the process of allocating shipments of the new bills among local banks.