In a recent televised interview, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno took to his agency’s defense over mounting accusations that replacing the current three national heroes on the P1,000 bill with the Philippine Eagle is a stepping stone to revising history.
With the BSP soon making the switch to plastic-based polymer banknotes, plans for an aesthetic redesign of the nation’s currency followed suit.
The Philippine eagle, an endangered species endemic to the country, will be taking the spot of late civic worker and founder of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines Josefa Llanes Escoda, former Chief Justice José Abad Santos, and first Filipino graduate of the American military academy West Point, former general Vicente Lim.
During the Japanese occupation in World War II, the three also served the nation heroically in resistance to the invading forces.
Diokno explained that based on their research on trends in other nations, the Philippine eagle would serve to represent the “whole country”.
Historical organizations, solons, and citizens, however, strongly disagree with the BSP’s plan.
The University of the Philippines (UP) Department of History called out the BSP for not holding a public consultation on the matter, before finalizing the revised design.
Furthermore, the BSP did not coordinate with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) regarding the redesign plan.
“It appears that by this act the BSP is not only disregarding the Filipino symbol of its quest for nationhood and what it means through our heroes; the BSP is also trivializing this symbol,” the state university said.
For her part, Senator Nancy Binay expressed dismay at the BSP’s actions, stating “It is sad that [Abad Santos, Lim and, Llanes-Escoda] have become the first casualties of retail revisionism and hero delegitimation”.
Some netizens have even begun speculating that the move could serve as a “prelude” to the removal of late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr, and the late former President Corazon Aquino, from the P500 bill, in order to fuel a revisionist narrative of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ regime.