Posted at 12/20/2010 3:30 PM | Updated as
of 12/20/2010 3:41 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang has
kept its distance from the controversy over the supposed errors
on the new Philippine peso bills that will be released to
the public by Christmas.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda
said the designs of the new bank notes did not go through
the Office of the President for approval, but the Monetary
Board and the Numismatic Society.
Lacierda made the clarification as he noted
that President Aquino's critics were pinning the blame on
“They’re nitpicking. It’s
very clear even it wasn’t the responsibility of the
Executive Branch or at least the Office of the President.
They’re trying to gather all that they can to hit the
President even if he’s not totally involved in the actions,”
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on
Monday defended the new peso notes, which it started to allocate
among local banks last Friday.
Map makers said the Philippine maps appearing
on the 20-, 50-, 100-, 200-, 500-, and 1,000-peso notes excluded
the Batanes Islands near Taiwan and misplaced some of the
country's top tourist draws, including the Tubbataha Reefs.
But BSP deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo said
the designs were just "artistic rendition."
"If we want to make the Philippine map
that specific and accurate we would have had to draw all 7,000
islands," he told a radio interview.
Gunigundo also defended the rendering of
a rare native bird, the blue-naped parrot, on the 500-peso
bill, saying it was patterned after the yellow color scheme
of the denomination.
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, a
birdwatchers' organization, has insisted the yellow-beaked
parrot on the note does not exist anywhere in the country
since in real life, the blue-naped parrot has a red beak.
"It took us 3 years to research [the
design]," Gunigundo said, brushing off allegations of
This was not the first time the central bank
has been left red-faced over currency design. It was forced
in 2005 to withdraw bills that misspelled the name of Gloria
Arroyo, the predecessor of current President Aquino, whose
signature appears on the new legal tender.
The 2005 bill, which called her Gloria Arrovo,
became a much sought-after collectors' item.
The BSP said it would still release the new
generation of Philippine bills despite the furor over the
design errors. - With reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN
News, and AFP