MANILA – A relative of former Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos said Tuesday that the face of her kinsman must not be removed from the P1,000 banknote.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Saturday revealed the new design of the polymer P1,000 banknote, which features the Philippine eagle in front and the south sea pearl in the back.
Abad Santos, General Vicente Lim, and Girl Scouts of the Philippines founder Josefa Llanes Escoda will be removed from the bill when the new design is tested next year.
“I have nothing against the Philippine eagle ‘no, napaka-majestic niyang creature, and as Filipinos we should be proud of it. But it cannot replace the values that the three heroes teach everybody,” said Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo of the Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation.
Her husband, Mario, is a grandnephew of the former chief magistrate who was executed by the Japanese in 1942.
Benipayo noted that the P1,000 is a reminder to Filipinos of the value of patriotism and self-sacrifice.
“’Di ba ito na nga lang 'yung parang daily natin na history lesson. Daily reminder of, you know, of Filipinos’ patriotism, love of country, and self-sacrifice. Mawawala pa, ‘di ba?"
"And yung ipinaglalaban din natin dito eh sa lahat-lahat ng ating paper currency…yung P1,000 ang katangi-tanging nag-feature ng mga martyrs at heroes, mga nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay. The rest are politicians, statesmen, past presidents kung papansinin natin ‘di ba? So mawawala pa ýon, ‘di ba?”
“Eto na nga lang 'yung parang nagsisilbing quick history lesson sa atin, para siyang, isa siyang ano eh, isa siyang storya pag tiningnan mo yung P1,000 bill ‘diba? Sa mga interesado maaaring i-Google nila, maaaring itanong sa magulang, sino ba yung tatlo? So natututo, ‘di ba?” she added.
Benipayo also noted that images of the Philippine eagle will not invoke a love of country among Filipinos.
“Wala siyang ma-e-evoke eh. Wala siyang mae-evoke na sense of patriotism in a person or mai-invoke na, or walang mag-ano na kumbaga, ‘pag hindi na sila nakikita, mawawala na.”
“’Di ba may term tayo na out of sight, out of mind? So wala na, parang kinalimutan natin 'yung maganda nating nakaraan na lumaban ang mga Pilipino sa mga dayuhan ‘di ba?”
Benipayo stressed that they have nothing against the Philippine eagle being placed on Philippine banknotes. She questioned, however, why it was not placed at the back instead—as has been the trend for a long time.
“We have nothing against putting the Philippine eagle, pero sana sa likod. Katabi nung giant pearl, marami pa namang space.”
She added, “Isipin na natin 'yung sinabi ng BSP na gusto nga nilang i-feature ang flora and fauna. Magandang objective ‘yun ‘di ba? Pero there’s always the back side of the money na doon naman na naging, 'yun na 'yung naging trend for a long time, di dun ilagay.”
She also noted that putting the Philippine eagle front and center on the P1,000 may also not help its cause.
“Even then, putting the Philippine eagle in front of the bill will not help its cause. Pondohan natin ang Philippine Eagle Center para makapag-breed in captivity. Para, you know, mahuli ang mga poachers. 'Yun 'yung tingin kong mas active way of helping the Philippine Eagle.”
“Parang, balewala 'yung photo op, balewala 'yung nandoon siya sa P1,000 kung wala namang gagawin 'yung gobyerno para i-save siya ‘di ba? Eh di ba nasa critically endangered list na nga siya.”
Benipayo also noted that the decision to print money on polymer—instead of abaca—may also hurt the livelihood of Filipino farmers.
“Isa pang nakakalungkot is because of ia-outsource ang pagprint nito, so maraming mawawala ditong trabaho siguro at unang-unang madi-displace ang abaca farmers natin dahil 'yung ating paper currency now, gumagamit 'yan ng abaca.”
“And maraming farmers are farming, contract farming because of, to provide BSP with this, so paano na sila ngayon ‘di ba?”
“Yung sinasabing magiging mas mura, o siguro, maaari, pero sana i-balance din. Kasi, oo siguro mura, at cost, pero outsourced naman siya. So ilan yung trabahong mawawala, ‘di ba? Tapos yun, sa abaca farmers nga ilan yung madi-displace don. So in the long run would it be cheaper, really?”
Benipayo has launched a petition on website change.org calling on the BSP to reconsider its removal of the World War II heroes from the P1,000 banknote.
She said she hoped people would sign her online petition.
“Iparinig natin sa BSP na hindi tayo sang-ayon sa pagtanggal ng ating mga martyrs and heroes sa P1,000 bills,” she said.
She also said that it is possible for the BSP to strike a 'win-win' solution of featuring both national heroes and Philippine flora and fauna in the national currency.
"Maganda po yung iniisip niyo, yung i-feature ang flora and fauna. Pwede naman po sa likod. Marami pong space. Oyster pa lang po nandoon, eh sa harap nga po, tatlo na silang masikip 'di ba?"
"So, yun po, sana win-win, BSP. 'Wag po mawala 'yung ating national heroes as part of our Philippine history and mai-feature din 'yung natural wonders as part of our natural history."
--TeleRadyo, 14 December 2021