MANILA - The Bayan Muna Party List on Tuesday filed a resolution urging the House of Representatives to investigate, in aid of legislation, the removal of Philippine national heroes from the design of the country's new banknotes, replacing them with photos of flora and fauna.
House Resolution 2412 called on the House to oppose the removal of the heroes. It is addressed to the Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries.
HR 2412 said that last December 12, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced the new design of the P1,000 banknote.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said that “the new series will focus on fauna and flora in the Philippines.” The new design, however, removed the faces of three national heroes.
“The three (3) World War II heroes now removed from the P1,000 bill, namely Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, Brig. Gen. Vicente Lim and Girl Scouts of the Philippines founder Josefa Llanes Escoda, bravely fought against the Japanese occupation in the Philippines.”
“While it is not wrong to feature Philippine flora and fauna in our banknotes, it should not be at the expense of removing totally our heroes who stood and fought for our rights and freedoms.” HR 2412 said.
It noted that relatives of two of the heroes had flagged the removal.
“Jose Maria Bonifacio Escoda, the nephew of Josefa Llanes Escoda said the removal is 'like killing these three people again, and it’s more painful than what the Japanese did, because the ones that are redesigning the banknote are Filipinos'," the resolution wrote.
"Vicente Lim IV, great-grandson of Brigadier General Lim also said that 'the banknotes do offer a look into Philippine history, even if to an audience with just a fleeting interest in it.' He added that he has 'nothing against' promoting awareness for the 'national bird and national flower', but, placing these on the P1,000 bill 'comes at the cost of erasing one of the last few (ubiquitous) ways through which we remember and honor our storied past, and the heroes who martyred themselves for our country', it added.
The three Bayan Muna lawmakers argued that banknotes represent not just a country's tourist attractions but what a nation holds dear and serves as a constant reminder to its people.
“Eliminating our heroes from them is a way of erasing them from the Philippine psyche; it is a divisive revisionist makeover,” the group said.