The Philippine Eagle replaced three heroes of history on the redesigned P1,000 bill because the endangered national bird stands for unity, the head of the central bank said Tuesday.
The central bank over the weekend unveiled the new design which it said is in line with the global trend. The faces of Josefa Llanes-Escoda, Gen. Vicente Lim and Jose Abad Santos were replaced by the critically endangered raptor, drawing protest online with some expressing fear that the P500 bill featuring the late husband and wife Ninoy and Cory Aquino could be next.
The Aquino family's political nemesis, the Marcoses, are charging towards the ultimate political comeback in the 2022 elections, with the presidential bid of dictator's son Bongbong Marcos. The Aquino's ascent to power in 1986 forced the Marcos family into exile.
"Kasi pinagaaralan namin, sa ibang bansa ganon ang trend. 'Yung eagle symbolizes the whole country—isang ibon na endangered. Palagay ko makakaunite satin ito—young and old, male and female," Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno told Teleradyo.
Diokno said regardless if a hero appears on money or not, they would still remain a hero as history could never be revised.
"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, noting replacing a money's design has been a practice of BSP.
"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.
Earlier, some groups, including renowned historians, challenged the removal of the World War II Filipino martyrs from the bill, calling it a "slap in the face" of the heroes who died in service of the country.
"Currency is one way of honoring prominent people in one country. The fact that you see them every day when you use the bill is one way of remembering who they are. It also serves as a teaching tool. Of course, teachers can show the bill," Dr. Ricardo Jose, a WWII historian who teaches at the University of the Philippines, told ANC.
"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," he added.
Diokno took back his earlier statement claiming the new design had earned the nod of the National Historical Institute after the cultural body disputed it.
"The error came on my part," he said, noting it was only the BSP Committee on Currency Design and Enhancement involved, befor it was sent to the Palace for approval.