Press Release
December 26, 2021

Gordon: Retain heroes' depiction in peso bills

Philippine currency should not set aside its depiction of national heroes in recognition of their bravery and invaluable contribution to the country's rich history and culture, Re-electionist Senator Richard J. Gordon today said.

Gordon made the statement in response to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)'s announcement in phasing out World War II heroes in its experimental PhP1000 polymer bills set for release next year in favor of the Philippine eagle.

"Tama 'yung sinasabi natin na ang kabayanihan natin, andiyan [sa pera]. Si Escoda, a girl scout. 'Yang si Jose Abad Santos na pinugutan ng ulo, hindi nag-collaborate. Si Vicente Lim, a West Point graduate, nasa klase niya si [former U.S. President Dwight] Eisenhower, meron tayong matututunan. At pupuwede nating ilagay [sa pera]," he said in a recent radio interview.

"Ang salapi ay talagang mahahawakan ng lahat ng mamamayan yan at puwede nating ipagmalaki, may maikukwento tayo sa salapi pa lamang," he added.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, Brig. Gen. Vicente Lim, and Girl Scouts of the Philippines founder Josefa Llanes Escoda represent the largest denomination in circulation for their role in resistance against the invading Japanese.

The three represented different sectors of Philippine society -- Lim for the military, Escoda for the women, and Abad Santos for the government.

BSP reportedly said the new banknote series will focus on the country's flora and fauna, with a large chance that other heroes may also be phased out. The Philippine eagle, the world's biggest eagle, is also the country's national bird.

Gordon, a former tourism secretary who led the highly-successful "WOW Philippines" promotions here and abroad, underscored the importance of having heroes as role models for future generations.

"Nilagay ko si Lapulapu sa Rizal Park. Si Lapulapu ang ating fearless na talagang warrior [na kumakatawan sa linya ng national anthem na,] '...Sa manlulupig hindi ka pasisiil,'" he said.

"Si [Jose] Rizal ang siyang tinatawag na 'Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo.' Poet, talagang philosopher, patriot. Ganoon rin sa salapi," he added.

As tourism chief under the Arroyo administration, Gordon underscored cultural preservation as one of his pillars in the "WOW Philippines" campaign, which had bagged international recognition for its effectivity in raking in tourists to the country.

Gordon opined that cultural preservation builds on the Philippines' heritage, and is being used to teach Filipinos and foreigners alike its national identity.

Under his watch, numerous historical sites, such as Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila, Fort San Pedro in Cebu, Fort Pilar in Zamboanga, and Cotta in Ozamiz City were restored to highlight Philippine history in its nationalistic sense.

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