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(Updated 7:22 p.m.) A smiling image of the late President Corazon Aquino has now joined the image of her husband, the late Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., on the new P500 bill. The inclusion of Mrs. Aquino, mother of President Benigno Aquino III, is part of the new look given to all Philippine bank notes that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) unveiled Thursday. President Aquino, whose signature is now on the new bank notes, led the launching in Malacañang. "It does make me happy, as a son and as a Filipino, to have my parents on the same bank note. It is a testament to what they sacrificed for our people, and a testament to their love for our country," he said. He pointed out a major difference between his parents and himself: "It also serves as a constant reminder for me that my parents were more fortunate than I in finding that person that made them whole and allowed them to achieve the heights that they did." This elicited laughter from the audience.
The design of the new P500 bill features the faces of President Cory Aquino and the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino.BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the new bank notes took three years to conceptualize and print. The idea to include Mrs. Aquino on the P500 bill, however, was conceived when she passed away in August 2009. Tetangco said the BSP decided to include Mrs. Aquino on the bank note even before President Aquino announced in September that he would seek the presidency. The BSP will start producing and circulating the new bills this month, but the old bills are still considered legal tender and are expected to remain in circulation for around three more years. All six denominations — P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, and P1,000 — have new designs and security features. Below are the new designs: [Click here to see all the new designs.] P20 bill Obverse: Manuel L. Quezon Reverse: Banaue Rice Terraces and a palm civet from the Cordilleras, which are famous for producing the civet cat coffee or kapeng alamid.
On the bottom left corner of the P200 bill is the famous photo of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's oath-taking during the People Power II revolution. Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. can be seen on the right administering the oath.P50 bill Obverse: Sergio Osmeña Reverse: Taal Lake and the Giant Trevally (locally known as Maliputo), a delicious milky fish P100 bill Obverse: Manuel A. Roxas Reverse: Mayon Volcano and the "butanding" or whale shark, the world's largest fish and the main attraction of Donsol, Sorsogon P200 bill Obverse: Diosdado Macapagal Reverse: Bohol's Chocolate Hills and the Philippine tarsier, one of the world's smallest primates P500 bill Obverse: Corazon Aquino and Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. Reverse: Palawan's Subterranean River National Park and the blue-naped parrot, which thrives in the forests of Palawan and Mindoro P1,000 bill Obverse: Josefa Llanes Escoda, Vicente P. Lim, and Jose Abad Santos Reverse: Tubbataha Reef Marine Park and the South Sea Pearl, which is produced by oysters that thrive in the South Seas of which the Sulu Sea is part The images of the national figures on the obverse side of the bills show them at a younger age. Fe Dela Cruz, director of the BSP's corporate affairs office, said in an ambush interview the youthful images were chosen because the public servants and heroes on the bank notes served the country during their prime. The image of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo taking her oath of office after the second EDSA Revolution, which was on the reverse side of the old P200 bill, is now on the obverse side. The image, located on the lower left side, is much smaller.
The P200 bill features the face of former President Diosdado Macapagal. While the image of his daughter, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, will remain on the P200 bill, it will be much smaller and moved to the bottom left corner of the bill.The new security features of the bank notes include embossed prints, serial numbers, security fibers, watermarks, security thread, optically variable device, optically variable ink, and a see-through mark. The amount of features increase as the value of the note goes up. The see-through mark is the word "Pilipino" written in Baybayin, a pre-Spanish Philippine writing system, which can only be seen completely when the note is viewed against the light. A bank note's design is first conceptualized before it is drawn by an artist into a prototype banknote. Once the prototype has been approved, printing plates will be produced. The production of bank notes consists of litho printing; intaglio printing; sheet inspection; numbering; tenning (where numbered sheets are inspected every tenth sheet to check if there are defects); and finishing which includes cutting, counting and packaging, according to the BSP. Present during the launching were relatives of the heroes and officials shown on the bank notes. Luli Arroyo, Mrs. Arroyo’s daughter, was present at the ceremony to represent her mother and grandfather. She and President Aquino, her mother’s political adversary, only shook hands briefly when the Arroyo family was asked to come onstage for the unveiling of the new P1,000 bill. — KBK/VS/HS/MRT/JV, GMANews.TV