P1000 redesign angered families of WWII heroes
MANILA, Philippines–– What appeared to be a simple overhaul of a paper bill could further contribute to the collective oblivion of the atrocities suffered by Filipinos during the Japanese occupation.
Portraits of WWII heroes Jose Abad Santos, Josefa Llanes Escoda and Vicente Lim will be removed from future P1000 polymer banknotes and replaced with the Philippine eagle.
“It’s like killing these three people again, and it’s more painful than what the Japanese did, because those who redesign the banknote are Filipinos,” nephew Jose Maria Bonifacio Escoda told Rappler. by Josefa.
Escoda urged BSP governor Benjamin Diokno to keep the current design, as it could further push Japan’s alleged political agenda to clean up its image.
“Was it pressure from the Japanese? They tried to remove that and erase their atrocities here, ”Escoda said.
Escoda is a retired professor and author of Warsaw from Asia: The Rape of Manila, a book that details the brutality of Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Vicente Lim IV, great-grandson of Brigadier General Lim, admitted that most Filipinos do not remember the three martyrs even before the recast. But he also pointed out that the images still have some impact on the memory of heroism.
“Banknotes offer a glimpse into Philippine history, even though they are aimed at an audience that may only be interested in it fleetingly. I have nothing against our national bird and our national flower. I am all for promoting awareness of these national treasures. However, placing them on Bill P1,000 comes at the cost of erasing one of the last (ubiquitous) means by which we remember and honor our historic past and the heroes who martyred for our country, ”said Lim to Rappler.
Lim is currently moderating a Facebook page to honor the memory of his grandfather, as well as the officers and enlisted men of the 41st Division of the Philippine Army under the United States Armed Forces in the Far East who fought with his great grandfather.
“In one of his last letters on the battlefields of Bataan, General Lim wrote to his wife, ‘With all this talk, I sincerely give credit to my officers and enlisted men. They are the ones who did it all. Mine was only to inspire and guide them. When the story is written, I will give them all the credit. Their satisfaction is mine to share. As you may know, he was never able to keep that promise himself, as he did not survive the war alive. Therefore, even as a young boy, I realized that someone should keep this promise on his behalf. So it became my life’s mission to keep his promise, to tell the stories of the men who fought with General Lim, and to honor and keep their memory alive.
In a Facebook post, Desiree Ann Cua-Benipayo, Abad Santos’ great-great-niece, told Diokno and the BSP Monetary Board: “[W]why not put the Philippine eagle at the end of the bill? In this way, you teach our citizens about patriotism and love for the environment. Aren’t there a million other better things to do than mess up our bills and coins? “
” Has my [World War II] Colleagues in history – it’s our dilemma that our nation’s collective war memory fades, isn’t it? And this is now made worse by this government when it decided to remove the only daily reminder to our people of the Filipino courage during the war.
The banknotes representing the three heroes were introduced in 1991 by the former governor of the BSP, José Cuisia.
Diokno said the “NHI” or National Historical Institute (now called the National Historical Commission of the Philippines or NHCP) and the President’s Office have already approved the new design.
The NHCP has yet to release a statement.
This is not the first controversy facing the next polymer banknotes.
Rappler reported earlier that critics, as well as current and former BSP officials, had reported the deal with Australia for printing the banknotes.
The abaca industry has also questioned the move, noting that the switch to polymer will affect farmers.
The first batch of the new banknotes, which will circulate with the old ones, will arrive by the second quarter of 2022.
What about the other bills?
The change in the P1 000 bill is also fueling speculation that other bills need to be redone.
In particular, Marcos loyalists have urged the government to remove the Aquinos from Bill P500, with some even proposing to change the color of the bill, with yellow being associated with family.
Diokno said no discussions had been initiated regarding the overhaul of the other bills.
But the BSP also said it also told reporters that the new P1,000 banknote is the “first” in a series of banknotes that “will focus on the country’s rich flora and fauna.”
Here is a brief glimpse into the lives of the three martyrs depicted on the current P1000 bill:
José Abad Santos. He was the fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court and took office on December 24, 1941, shortly after the outbreak of World War II.
He was also appointed by then President Manuel Quezon as government guardian in areas unoccupied by the Japanese. Abad Santos remained in the Philippines, while Quezon and his cabinet established a government in exile in the United States.
Abad Santos and his son Pepito were captured by Japanese soldiers on April 11, 1942 in Toledo, Cebu. They were taken to a concentration camp in Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City.
He was then taken by Japanese commander Kiyotake Kawaguchi to Parang, Cotabato (now in Maguindanao), after refusing to cooperate.
“Don’t cry, Pepito, show these people that you are brave. It is an honor to die for your country. Not everyone is so lucky, ”Abad Santos told Pepito before May 2, 1942, when he was killed. Japan never apologized for the execution.
Josefa Llanes Escoda. She was a Filipino civic leader and founded the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.
She and her husband Antonio supported resistance fighters by providing food and medicine to Filipino and American prisoners in concentration camps.
She also kept records and names of prisoners of war at Camp O’Donnel in Capas, Tarlac.
In 1944, Japanese military agents discovered the couple’s works and they were imprisoned in Fort Santiago.
Llanes Escoda was last seen alive on January 6, 1945, severely beaten. His remains were never found, but were reportedly executed and buried in La Loma Cemetery or Manila Chinese Cemetery, where Japanese forces dumped thousands of corpses of resistance fighters.
Vicente Lim. He was a graduate of the United States Military Academy and played roles in WWI and WWII.
During World War I, Lim was sent to Europe to observe and study the configuration of the armies there. He eventually found his way back to the Philippines and was assigned to Corregidor Island.
He then taught military law and topography to the former Philippine Police (now the Military Academy of the Philippines).
In 1941, Lim was appointed Brigadier General by Quezon. As World War II loomed, Lim assumed field command of the 41st Philippine Division and was deployed to Bataan.
However, in 1942, the joint US-Philippine force was defeated and Lim became a Japanese prisoner of war.
He was one of the thousands of soldiers who endured Bataan’s death march and were imprisoned at Camp O’Donnel in Tarlac.
Lim was eventually released, but refused to have anything to do with the then Japanese-controlled government.
Declared ill, he was able to refuse appointments and even helped to continue the resistance.
His involvement in guerrilla operations ultimately led to his capture.
In 1944, he was declared “disappeared”. A soldier told his family that Lim, along with around 50 guerrillas, had been beheaded. His body has never been found. – Rappler.com