currency: how cheap is rizal

02 January 2011

it was the inquirer‘s ramon n. villegas in Coming up-the redesigned Philippine currency who said:

From the ’70s to the ’90s, the lower denominations of paper bills which featured the revolutionary founders of the nation—Rizal, Bonifacio, Jacinto, Mabini—were eliminated. Their demotion to coins is symbolic of the diminution of their radical ideas by the country’s elite.

yes, jose rizal is on one-peso coins, emilio aguinaldo on five-peso coins, and andres bonifacio and apolinario mabini on ten-peso coins.   si emilio jacinto nawala na lang.   it’s like american colonial times pa rin, sa totoo lang, when nationalist aspirations were discouraged, repressed, disparaged.

this disturbs me more than the the new currency designs’ inaccuracies re the parrot the map the whale the scientific-name fonts and other trivia.   lalo na after reading this letter to the editor:

Currency designs reflect values of ruling class

… Let us not forget Lapulapu who resisted the Spanish invasion in 1521. His image is on our one-centavo coins, now virtually demonetized in value and sense. If it’s any consolation, Lapulapu is remembered today as a pricey fish. But then, maliputo is more expensive and has replaced Lapulapu as the fish recognized on the new currency bills.

We agree: the “peso bills … also qualify our aspirations as a nation, our values as a people.” However, the “aspirations” and “values” printed on our money may not be reflective of our people’s.

Sergio Osmeña’s claim to fame in the P50 notes is that he was with US Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the US forces’ Leyte landing in 1944. This occasion is deceitfully dubbed as the start of the “liberation of the Philippines” from Japanese forces. In 1942, US forces, trapped in Bataan and Corregidor, surrendered to the Japanese. Actual resistance thereafter was led by Filipino forces, some of whom were fighting American occupation in the Philippines before the war erupted.

Manuel Quezon (of the P20 notes) was originally barred by the Commonwealth constitution from running for reelection, but he lobbied US Congress to amend this provision. Had this happened today, Quezon would have been the subject of people power.

During the presidency of Manuel Roxas (P100 notes), the controversial Bell Trade Act, which granted free trade between the Philippines and the United States, was signed. Also ratified was the Treaty of General Relations. While recognizing Philippine independence, it ensured American control by granting them use of 23 military bases in the country, and gave special property rights and investment privileges to US citizens.

Roxas’ administration was tainted with corruption scandals.

The P200 currency is of course a “vanity” bill. Issued during the regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, it features her father and her inauguration as president. Even Ferdinand Marcos did not dare to place his face on peso bills.

Generally, the personalities featured in the currency notes come from the same class—the bourgeoisie.

Workers and peasants played a big role in Philippine history. They formed the bulk of the fighting Filipinos in the anti-Spanish and anti-American wars, as well as in the anti-Japanese war. They play a major role in our development as a nation as well. Peasants produce our food, and indigenous farmers are stewards of our forests. Workers, through their labor, raise the value of capital goods produced in our country.

Even though short of cash, they should at least be honored by the value of their worth. Thus, it is more accurate to say that present currency note designs reflect the ruling class’ values and what it aims to promote to further its reign.

JULIE L. PO, Linangan ng Kulturang Pilipino,

i don’t agree lang that “the personalities featured in the currency notes come from the same class–the bourgeoisie.”   manuel quezon, sergio osmena, manuel roxas, diosdado macapagal may have started out poor or middle class but all ended up rich and powerful in their time and their descendants are fully of the elite, the ruling class, whose values and influence are part of, or every reason, why we remain a poor undeveloped basket-case of a country.

13 Responses to currency: how cheap is rizal

  1. January 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    ” it’s like american colonial times pa rin, sa totoo lang, when nationalist aspirations were discouraged, repressed, disparaged.”

    which personalities would u rather have? bonifacio? isnt he already on the 10 peso coin?

  2. January 2, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    sharing fb exchange with boo chanco:

    boo: i think the lower the denomination of the currency, the more important the hero.

    me: really? hmm. i was thinking in terms of value. the more we value a hero, the higher sana the currency.

    boo: the americans have lincoln on the penny, george washington in the quarter, franklin roosevelt in the dime, and those are the only coins i have on hand.

    me: hmm the peso has so devalued maybe i’m just afraid mawala na lang eventually ang one-peso coin, and there goes rizal… and then, again, seeing the new bills and how much effort went into upgrading the images of lesser heroes, and how much larger, more visible they are, parang hindi fair ;)

  3. January 3, 2011 at 1:18 am

    actually, using ur logic here points 2 chanco’s point. inflation creates the need for higher denomination bills. using the argument that inflation “weakens” currency, higher denomination bills implies weaker currency, implies less important (foundational) heroes.

  4. January 3, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I believe 1-peso coins are still in wide circulation making Jose Rizal’s “presence” in most Filipinos felt.

    [Though the rich perhaps may no longer be able to touch the “diminutive” (according to some) peso coin, I believe, there are still coin-filled coin purses inside the LVs, Hermeses, etc. and coin-filled coin slots on the dashboard of Benzes, BMWs, Jags, etc.]

  5. January 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I agree with GabbyD’s and Boo Chanco’s observations. Plus the fact that coins can outlasts the paper bills in term of material deterioration in the long, long run.

  6. January 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    from boo: here’s one explanation i got from the bsp: The lower the denomination, the more accessible it is to the most number of people, including kids who should be made aware and constantly reminded of the values these heroes stand for…

  7. January 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    ok i get it. still, what does one peso buy these days. it may circulate among more people, even kids, but do they value it?

  8. January 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Yep, the kids (especially the street kids and those thrifty kids keeping piggy banks) value the Jose-Rizal-coin well…

    Four of it won’t make an Emilio Aguinaldo
    Nine of it won’t make Andres Bonifacio alongside Apolinario Mabini
    Nineteen of it won’t make a Manuel L. Quezon
    Forty-nine of it won’t make a Sergio Osmeña
    Ninety-nine of it won’t make a Manuel A. Roxas
    And so on and so forth…

    Even ordinary folks value the peso-coin very much for it will mean walking a long distance in going home if they happen to end up one Jose-Rizal-coin short of the usual public transportation fare.

    Imagine a matron (in a hurry for a meeting) handing a Jose-Abad-Santos-Gen-Vicente-Lim-and-Josefa-Llanes-Escoda-bill to her first-time grocer in payment for a five-hundred-eight-peso worth of foodstuffs. The grocer asked for change in coins so he can conveniently hand over a Ninoy-Aquino-bill. Luckily the matron had Jose-Rizal-coins stored in her purse.

    Imagine a young scion of a businessman about to leave a street parking space only to find out that his wallet had one Ninoy-Aquino-bill and a gold plastic card. Good for him, his father had several Jose-Rizal-coins and a few Emilio-Aguinaldo ones ready in the car, an Impreza STI, for those “watch-your-car” boys.

    Oh, how the Filipinos love (if not, revere) our national heroes…most notably, Jose Rizal…

  9. January 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    haha baycas, good answer!!! ok i concede ;) still i’d like to see rizal ALSO on a hundred-peso or a thousand-peso bill

  10. January 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    ha-happy new year, angela!

  11. January 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    same to yoo-hoo, baycas!

  12. July 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    dapat si rizal ang pinakamataas sa mga antas ng pera co’z he is our national hero…. tamah dvah///////

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