The new peso bills

FE DELA CRUZ was really excited when she showed us the new peso bills. “It really makes us proud as a people,” says Fe, an old colleague who now serves as director for corporate affairs of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The new designs highlight not only our leaders, but scenic spots and exotic creatures indigenous to the country. Apart from the so-called “contemporary look”, it contains security features, ranging from embossed prints to see through-marks and security threads.

In the P20 bills we can see the shadow image of the late President Manuel Quezon and the numeral 20 seen at the blank space of the note when viewed against the light from either side of the note. It has red and blue visible fibers embedded note that appears at random and glow in two colors under the ultraviolet light.

The design also highlights the Banaue Rice Terraces, which has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the palm civet, or popularly known as Musang and for some as the Alamid where the name Coffee Alamid came from. These are the actual coffee beans that they eat and partially digest before releasing as droppings.

All the new bills have a see-through mark of the word “Pilipino” written in the pre-Spanish Philippine writing known as “baybayin,” which is seen in complete form when the note is viewed against the light.

From the P50 bill we have the portrait of the late President Sergio Osmena who led the country during the critical stages nearing the end of World War II. It contains red and blue visible fibers embedded on the paper, and like all the new bills it glow in two colors under the ultraviolet light.

The design also includes the famous Taal Lake, which is considered as the world’s smallest volcano, along with the Maliputo, the delicious milky fish that thrives only in the waters of the lake.

In the P100 bill we can see the photo of the late President Manuel L. Quezon. The denominational value which is superimposed on the smaller version portrait at the upper left side of the note become obvious  when the note is rotated 45 degrees and tilted down.

The currency also highlights the Bicol region and its majestic Mayon Volcano and the whale shark known locally as “Butanding”, considered as the world’s largest living fish that regularly visits the waters of Sorsogon to mate and to feed on plankton abundant in Donsol River.

The late President Diosdado Macapagal was retained in the P200 bills in honor of his contribution to the land reform and his socio-economic agenda that started the process of economic liberalization and the country’s shift to a market economy. It also highlights the Bohol Chocolate Hills, and its famous Philippine tarsier, described as the world’s smallest primates.

What is notable in the new P500 bill was the martyred hero Benigno Aquino Jr., now smiling along with his wife, former President Corazon Aquino. It also features the eight t kilometer Puerto Princesa River National Park and the Blue-nape Parrot, which is also found in Palawan.

The war heroes Josefa Llanes Escoda, Vicente Lim and Jose Abad Santos were enshrined in the P1, 000 bills, along with the 130,000 hectare Tubbataha Reef Marina Park in Sulu Sea, with its natural habitats of oysters that produced the world’s largest pearls the tinalak design, or the Ikat-dyed abaca, which is women in Mindanao.

Indeed, the new bills depict our national symbols. But in the end it can only be appreciated if government can make good its promise to increase the purchasing of the people, many of whom continue to reel in poverty and joblessness. Joel Paredes

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