FROM PHILIPPINE MONEY
By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes
Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers
(January 4, 1996)
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OST OF THE PEOPLE I've heard talking about the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas decision about Philippine coins as legal tender were complaining about the suddenness of its implementation since New Year's Day. Veteran broadcaster Mario Garcia, station manager of ZNN Radio Veritas 846 (the station airing Kamalaysayan's Sentenaryo sa Radyo program every Saturday morning) said there has been no adequate public information campaign on the demonetization of certain coins. The year 1997 opened with heated arguments bordering on actual quarrels especially in marketplaces and public transportation vehicles all across the archipelago.
The reason given for such "decommissioning," so to speak, has been the confusion of having various sizes of coins for a single denomination (like having five sizes of coins for the one peso coin bearing the face of Jose Rizal), two sizes for the two-peso coin carrying Andres Bonifacio, etcetera). But there has been as much confusion spawned by the lack of information that has attended this turn of events. Moreover, in many areas of the country, there is still a conspicuous lack of supply of the new coins to replace the old ones. (Not to mention that there is also a growing lack of VALUE or purchasing power in each coin, but that is another story altogether.)
Actually, adequacy of information and supply (and value) is not the only important thing grossly missing in this situation. There is also a lack of logic. While it is perfectly logical for the BSP to phase out the almost-absolutely-useless coins lower than 25 centavos in denomination, there has been no logical explanation why they are phasing out two-peso and half-peso coins which have remained very very useful, and are keeping the one-centavo, five-centavo coins!
We of the Kamalaysayan campaign network for sense of history suspect that there is actually logic in this decision to scrap the two-peso coins, but such logic has had to be kept secret because they'd be ashamed to admit it. Nakakahiya!. Or kababain! as the Ilocanos would describe it. The decision, we suspect, is not at all directed against the two-peso denomination, but to against the hero featured in the two-peso coin, Andres Bonifacio, leaving Emilio Aguinaldo (five pesos) sharing second place (with Juan Luna, 25 centavos) in the ranking of heroes in our currency.
We are willing to listen to a more logical explanation about the gross impracticality we perceive in this decision made and/or being implemented by the BSP.
It has happened as Kamalaysayan warned publicly as early as August 1995: Andres Bonifacio has now been sacked from the lineup of heroes honored in the legal tender of the Republic. Effectivity date of this sacking: the first day of the centennial year of his treacherous execution under secret (later admitted) orders from Emilio Aguinaldo.(Kamalaysayan Media Service)
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