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Geographical errors on new peso bill designs

UPDATED 21DEC2010: Although largely well-received by the public, some of the new Philippine peso bill designs unveiled by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Thursday apparently contain geographical errors.

The new design of the blue-tinted P1,000 bill that supposedly proclaims the beauty of Southern Philippines' Tubbataha Reefs — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — seems to have gotten the site's location wrong by over 300 km, keen online observers have been quick to point out.

The design of the new P1000 bill with the indicated location (blue) and the actual location (red) of Tubbataha Reefs, as defined in RA 10067. Graphic by Wayne Manuel

A close-up look of the new P1000 bill's reverse side prominently features the words "Tubbataha Reefs National Park — UNESCO World Heritage Site" along with a map of the Philippines, on which there is a conspicuous black dot to indicate the reef's general location.

Over 300 km off the mark

However, Republic Act 10067, signed into law by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in April 2010, clearly defines the official bounds of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park using very specific geocoordinates.

The area indicated on the P1000 bill is over 300 km off the mark from the coordinates defined in RA 10067.

"The mark on the bill is supposed to show just the general location [of the reef]," said Fe M. Dela Cruz, the Central Bank's Director for Corporate Affairs, via telephone.

Misplaced Palawan park

Meanwhile, the New Media Philippines blog questioned the accuracy of the location of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park as indicated on the new P500 bill.

"The location in the bill makes it seem that the park is inland. They should have moved the marker nearer to the upper edge and a bit lower and closer to Puerto Princesa," the blog said.

The new peso bill designs supposedly don't show the entire Philippines, leaving out the northernmost islands of Batanes. Source: New Media Philippines

The blog also questioned why the Batanes islands at the northernmost tip of the country seem not to have been included in any of the new designs.

"Batanes is one of the most beautiful places in the country and it's not included, why?" the blog asked.

Clarificaton from Bangko Sentral

"In choosing the design elements for our currency, we are always guided by our commitment to enrich the appreciation and knowledge of the Filipinos we honor on our banknotes, as well as the unique sites and species our country should be proud of. For our banknotes, we used an artist's rendition of the Philippine map that, by virtue of space and aesthetics, does not reflect all of our islands and the precise coordinates of each site. Nevetheless, we appreciate constructive commnents and we will take these into account moving forward," dela Cruz said in a follow-up email to GMANews.TV. — JV, GMANews.TV