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Aquino to critics of new peso bills: Our money is not a map


President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III on Monday responded to critics of the supposed geographic "errors" on the new peso bills by saying that the country's currency is not a map. Aquino defended the new peso bills, launched last week by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), because some of them contained "errors." Online observers criticized the blue-tinted P1,000 bill featuring Southern Philippines' Tubbataha Reefs — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — for having missed the site's location by over 300 kilometers. Aquino, however, said the currency is "not a map, it's not a cartographer's sketch." "There is some degree of artistic license to it also," Aquino said in an ambush interview at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. "If I want to find out about a particular area, I'll look for a map. I'll go to the GPS." "May finite amount of space on the bill and you're supposed to include so many things you want to do: our history, the sites that we're inviting the tourists to come and visit, yung aspirations and then you put it in what, siguro mga two inches by 5 inches," he said. "Siguro itong mga magagaling baka they want to do it on that particular canvass (Perhaps these experts may want to do it on that particular canvass)," he added. Aquino said the important thing was that the security features on the new bills were upgraded to make counterfeiting difficult. "Gusto natin pahirapan na gawing fake yung bills. Matagal na yung mga designs. Yung advances in technology make it easier to duplicate bills that have been there in existence," he said. (We want the bills to be difficult to fake. The designs are old. Advances in technology make it easier to duplicate bills that have been there in existence.) The president said he thinks the BSP achieved the "primary objective" of making the bills difficult to fake. Over the weekend, the New Media Philippines blog also 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 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. In a press briefing earlier on Monday, Aquino's spokesman Edwin Lacierda said he thinks critics of the new peso bills were "nitpicking." "They’re nitpicking. It’s very clear, even if it wasn’t the responsibility of the Executive Branch or at least the Office of the President, they’re finding ways and they’re trying to gather all they can to hit on the President even if he’s not totally involved in some of the actions," said Lacierda. In the case of the Tubbataha reef, Lacierda said: "It’s not a map, it’s not really a map where you have the longitude and the latitude precisely stating the position of the Tubattaha Reef. This is a bank note so it was not rendered on scale." – VVP, GMANews.TV