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BSP open to criticism on erroneous banknotes

(Updated: 9:03 p.m.) The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday said it will be receptive to criticism regarding the new peso bills with geographically-challenged Philippine maps and a rare parrot with the wrong-colored beak. "We are open to receive comments about the new banknotes. For sure, we will evaluate them," BSP corporate affairs director Fe dela Cruz said in an interview with GMANews.TV. Critics — particularly in the graphics world — slammed the central bank for approving the erroneous bills. On Dec. 16, the BSP launched the new generation of banknotes, including the P500 bill on which a parrot's beak was rendered in yellow when it should be red.
The design of the new P500 bill features the faces of President Cory Aquino and the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino.
On the P1,000 bill, the location of the Tubbataha Reefs seems to be off the mark by 300 kilometers based on the coordinates specified in Republic Act 10067. Batanes island was also not in the Philippine map. The new banknotes include the P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, and P1,000 denominations. [See new designs] Amid the flurry of negative comments, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Monday started distributed 33 boxes of the new Philippine bills to commercial and universal banks. Each box contains 50,000 pieces of P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, and P1,000 bills the central bank said. "The Bangko Sentral does not have any intention to remove Batanes from the map. The island is certainly amazing. It was a matter of [an] artist's rendition," Dela Cruz said. Also, the BSP did not intend to insult or provide incorrect information about Philippine geography, she pointed out. BSP won't recall new notes In a press conference Monday afternoon, BSP Deputy Gov. Diwa Guinigundo pointed out that the central bank will not "recall these banknotes because [they] are without error." "There had been no mistakes. We did not fumble," he said. Guinigundo said that on the matter of the map of the Philippines, "our banknotes used an artist's rendition or abstraction of the Philippine map that cannot be expected to reflect all of our islands and the precise coordinates of each site." The central bank's intention is to "indicate the general location of the world heritage sites and iconic natural wonders," he said. Also, the BSP does not have any intention to remove Batanes from the map. "The island is certainly amazing. It was a matter of [an] artist's rendition," Dela Cruz reiterated. "The Bangko Sentral ensured that there are a lot of information on the bills, and the information would serve as their guide about the country," Dela Cruz said. "This is the first time the BSP included an illustration of the Philippine map on the banknotes." Muslims, on the other hand, were saying that they were underrepresented in the new banknotes. Dela Cruz said the mere fact that Mindanao — a huge percentage of it being occupied by Muslims — is included in the map, "it's already a deliberate attempt to make them represented." "On the color of the blue napped parrot highlighted at the reverse of our P500 banknote, we are not able to fully reflect the true colors on account of printing limitations," Guinigundo said. "While specialized machines for printing money can imprint security features on our banknotes, it has limited capability for printing colors, unlike machines used to print magazines and books," he continued. All praise Although the new banknotes generated negative comments from the public, Guinigundo said experts like international numismatist Doug Andrews was all praise for the new banknotes. "Probably the media will focus on the beautiful, new, state-of-the-art security features. But the other observations I would make are that all the portraits have a unique three-dimensional appearance, and the use of full-color coat of arms, the new BSP seal, and the outline of the map of the Philippines are distinctive," Guinigundo said, echoing Andrews' views. Andrew sends his congratulation to the innovative and hardworking designers and engravers the Philippines has, according to the deputy governor. "The bank and the nation can be proud of their new banknotes. That has a value beyond money." Still, Dela Cruz said these "errors" on the Philippine banknotes will be evaluated by monetary authorities and consultants. "We [will] look into details. Kung hindi precise or coordinate and mapa o kung anuman, titingnan natin," Dela Cruz said. "Titingnan ito ng BSP dahil madaming napakagandang features ng pera." "Apart from [the] creative arts, the new banknotes have the latest technology security features to protect Filipinos," she said. For President Benigno Aquino III, the new banknotes serve as "a portrait of changing times and of the enduring tapestry of our history." The peso bills sporting new designs will start circulating this month, and the new coins will follow after two years, the BSP earlier said. — VS, GMANews.TV