Lousy Bangko Sentral

WHEN it comes to counting money, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) could be the best anywhere in the world unless it’s back to its old habit of window dressing its own financial reports.

But when it comes to double-checking the physical features of our money – coins and bills – the BSP sure is lousy if not actually lazy and almost an ignoramus, or just plain gullible as it seems they have been taken for a ride by those who have designed them.

I don’t know how much Bangko  Sentral has paid the designers of the new peso bills and those old generation coins but I am sure the money involved could not be less than a million pesos.

Bangko Sentral must be more careful with people in charge of designing our money, especially their spellings and factual errors like the ones we encountered with the old coins that bore the wrong species and scientific names of the fishes they had minted.

Take a look at what the wire agency Agence France Press has discovered based on accounts from local critics:

Geographically-challenged Philippine maps and a rare parrot with the wrong-colored beak have perturbed the country after the central bank rolled out error-filled new editions of its peso bills.

The reverse side of the new 500-peso bill features a rare native bird, the blue-naped parrot, with its red beak incorrectly rendered in yellow and the tail feathers underneath colored green instead of yellow.

A map on the bill, which also carries portraits of Aquino’s late parents – mislocates Saint Paul’s, a subterranean river that is designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.

“Yes, they have made a very big booboo on the parrot,” said Jon Villasper, a cartographer who is also a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.

“Aside from that, they misplaced Tubbataha reef by around 400 kilometers and Batanes is not on the map. I believe they also misplaced Saint Paul’s subterranean river,” he told AFP by email.

Printed on the 1,000-peso bill is a map locating the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, another prized Philippine UNESCO world heritage site, on or near Malaysian territorial waters.

The map of the Philippines which features on six different bills re-draws the country’s territory to place its northern limit 150 kilometers south of the actual line and exclude the Batanes island group.

Ghelynne Avril del Rosario, a Manila lawyer, said the mistakes echoed a re-branding campaign by the tourism ministry that was withdrawn last month amid charges that its slogan was forgettable, it plagiarised Poland’s campaign and the URL of its website was close to that of a pornographic site.

Like the campaign, the bills are now fodder for ridicule on Internet social networking sites, Rosario told AFP.

“Just like scrapping the ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda (Philippines What a Beauty) slogan, let’s scrap the new peso notes as well!” she said.

Bangko Sentral should also consult with language experts because there is still the unresolved correct usage of our pesos. Should it be sampumpiso or sampung piso, limandaan or limang daan, and so forth and so on.

Our word of advice to BSP: Please be careful with our money. Raul Valino


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