AFP spokesman says deeds of three WW II heroes may be forgotten if their pictures on P1,000 bill will be replaced
By Robina Asido
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala expressed concern that the gallantry of three World War II heroes may be forgotten as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas prepares to change the picture in the 1000 peso bill.
Zagala, in his Facebook page, he recalled the heroism of his father who fought during World War II.
"My late father, Rafael Zagala, was a platoon leader in the 41st Division under BGen Vicente Lim. Together with thousands of citizen soldiers, they fought valiantly. Many died yet those who survived continued to fight until liberation," he said.
Lim, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos and Josefa Llanes Escoda were captured by Japanese soldiers and were never seen alive.
"They were the greatest generation. That’s not a title they claimed, they were ordinary Filipinos fated to confront extraordinary challenges of war. How do we honor them? Maybe we can start by looking at a thousand peso bill and reflect on three World War 2 heroes representing the greatest generation," said Zagala.
"Their image may be lost together with so many Filipinos' aspirations of remembrance for the present generation to emulate as the BSP changes the thousand peso bill with the Philippine Eagle. Lest we forget," he added.
Zagala posted his remark in his Facebook page after the BSP announced it was replacing the picture of Lim, Abad Santos and Escoda in the 1000 peso bill with the image of the Philippine Eagle.
In a statement Saturday, the BSP said it scheduled the circulation of the 1,000 peso banknote made of polymer on April 2022. Its issuance was approved by the Monetary Board and the Office of the President.
Historian Jose Bonifacio Maria Escoda, a nephew of Escoda, said removing their picture on the P1,000 ''is an injustice.''
''There is still time to reverse this decision,'' Escoda told the Daily Manila Shimbun in a phone interview.
In a message to the Daily Manila Shimbun, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana refused to give his comment, saying the decision to replace the image in the bill is not yet final.
Manila Mayor Francisco ''Isko Moreno'' Domagoso expressed the need to have a Department of National History and Culture following the decision of the BSP to replace the image in the 1,000 peso bill.
“I’m trying to call the attention of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to reconsider their decision. While it is true that the eagle should be there also, maybe it can be (a) half way ( decision). On the other hand, our heroes can still be there, and on the other side, our national treasure, important things or unique to our country, must still be there like our Philippine eagle,” said Domagoso, who is running for president in the 2022 elections, on Monday.
“I would rather have our heroes there (on the P1,000 bill) so you know the truth. Maybe it's high time because there are many government agencies, it's high-time for us to create a Department of National History and Culture,” he said.
“While it is true that it is okay for us to adopt another culture, we cannot forget our own, our history, culture, heroes. It cannot be lost because it is your distinction as a nation. Because we can notice that we seem to be neglecting our history. We should not hide almost everything that happened in our country so that the next generation can decide and learn from the things in the past,” he added. DMS