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Philippine Eagle Lands on New P1,000 Bill, Officially

Three national heroes are replaced.
by Clara Rosales
Just now
Photo/s: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Wednesday unveiled the redesigned P1,000 bill with the Philippine Eagle, replacing three national heroes despite protests from historians.

The obverse will carry the image of The Philippine Eagle, while the reverse will retain the design from the bill's previous iteration and feature the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu Sea, a South Sea pearl, and a Mindanao design for T'nalak.

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Prior to the change, the faces of Josefa Llanes-Escoda, Gen. Vicente Lim and Jose Abad Santos appeared on the blue bill, the highest single denomination in mass circulation. Plans of replacement drew protest online, with groups and historians calling it a slap to the face of heroes who died for the country.

"If they are removed, to me it's a slap on the face of the heroes themselves. I felt that these heroes are probably turning in their graves and they might be wondering what has happened to the country," said WWII historian and professor Dr. Ricardo Jose.

Bangko Sentral Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said global trends inspired the shift from heroes to the eagle, adding that the endangered national bird symbolized the country's unity.

"Hindi naman natin kinakalimutan ang mga bayani. Ang mga bayani, bayani 'yan kahit nasa pera o wala. Isipin mo ilan bang bayani ng mga Pilipino. Dati si Apolinario Mabini nasa sampung piso diba? Natanggal din siya," he said, citing the BSP's practice of replacing currency designs over the years.

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"So there was a decision na magkaroon ng bagong disenyo. It was not an attempt to revise history, hindi mo naman mapapalitan ang kasaysayan ng isang bansa," he added.


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More than just a design

World War II heroes Llanes-Escoda, Lim and Santos had appeared on the bill since 1991.

Apart from honoring them as Filipino martyrs, their appearance on the currency was also a way to make sure future generations do not forget who they were and what they stood for, historian Jose said.

Escoda's erasure in particular raised concerns among women's rights advocates: aside from her sacrifices during the war, she was also a staunch defender of women's rights in the country, and later became the first woman to appear on Philippine currency.


Who is Josefa Llanes Escoda, the Woman Hero in Old P1,000 Bill?

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Some also feared that the yellow P500 bill bearing the faces of late husband and wife Ninoy and Cory Aquino could be next, as the family's political nemesis—the Marcoses—stage their comeback in the 2022 elections through the presidential bid of dictator's son Bongbong Marcos.

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