UP History Department slams removal of heroes from P1,000 bill

Mico Abarro, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2021 08:46 PM

MANILA - The University of the Philippines' Department of History slammed on Thursday the central bank's removal of the photos of World War II heroes Jose Abad Santos, Josefa Llanes Escoda, and Vicente Lim from the new P1,000 bill.

In a statement, the department said the removal of the heroes from the banknote is a "slap in the face" of Santos, Escoda, and Lim. 

"It appears by this act, the BSP is not only disregarding the Filipino symbol of its quest for nationhood and what it means through these heroes; the BSP is also trivializing this symbol," it said.

It added that the central bank should have carried out a public consultation on the redesigned bill, which sports an image of the Philippine Eagle instead of Santos, Escoda, and Lim.

The department noted that the only other time when a P1,000 bill was issued without public consultation or Filipino heroes was during the Japanese Occupation with its "Mickey Mouse" money bills. 

"Today, in the twenty-first century under Filipino auspices, through the BSP, that act is being mindlessly repeated," said the history department of the country's premier state university.

Llanes-Escoda founded Girl Scouts of the Philippines, and was active in several charitable activities even before the war. When war broke out, she collected food and other items for prisoners of war, which eventually led to her arrest and execution.

Lim is the first Filipino graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, which, according to historian Ricardo Jose, was not easy because of racial discrimination.

Abad Santos was the chief justice of the Supreme Court and was among the Philippine officials left behind in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked in 1941. He was eventually captured and executed.

"We earnestly call on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to retain the images of our three heroes in the P1,000 bill, most especially in the new polymer bill," the UP History Department said.

The Central Bank unveiled the new design of its polymer P1,000 bill earlier this month, prompting criticism from groups like Bayan Muna. The partylist filed a resolution for a House probe into the matter. 

In response to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines saying they were not consulted on the changes, the BSP said it did not need to. Since the bill featured an animal, the central bank said it consulted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 

Last Saturday, in sharing the new P1,000 design, Diokno said it got the approval of the National Historical Institute.

He also said that the new series will focus on fauna and flora in the Philippines.

Though the redesigned bill is set for circulation by April 2022, the BSP said the old bill will still remain in use until stocks run out. 


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