Speech of President Aquino at the Launching of the New Generation Philippine Bank Notes

Speech
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the Launching of the New Generation Philippine Bank Notes
[Ceremonial Hall, Malacañan Palace, December 16, 2010]
[as delivered]

Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., Sir Roberto Tan, excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps., members of the Cabinet, Senator Franklin Drilon, honorable members of the Judiciary, Mayor Alfredo Lim, families of former presidents and Philippine heroes, officers and members of the Bankers Association of the Philippines, distinguished guests, mga minamahal ko pong kababayan.
It is my privilege to be here as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas launches a new generation of banknotes. This is the first overhaul of our banknotes in a generation. These notes, then, are a portrait of changing times and of the enduring tapestry of our history.

Let me thank all the artists, the designers, the consultants, the printers, and all BSP staff members who have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this project.
Banknotes are usually changed to comply with international monetary practices and to capitalize on useful innovations in the industry. In fact, I was informed of a problem that the appreciating peso becomes even more tempting for counterfeiters. On that front, the BSP has utilized newsecurity features which are valuable in the fight against counterfeiting. Aside from protecting the Filipinos from fraudulent activities, these new features will also improve the integrity of our banknotes.
But we have not only upgraded the security of our currency.  Banknotes are also representative of the people who use them and we cannot ignore the Filipino people who made their voices heard to usher us into this new era of change. Aside from displaying our natural wonders, historical milestones, and sites of our cultural heritage, the New Generation Currency Series also embodies the spirit of change that has instilled a fire in the hearts of our people.
The circulation of this new banknote series is a symbol of the contagious optimism of the Filipino people. It tells our people and the entire world of a newfound fervor, exemplified by the restored transparent relationship between the government and its citizens. The new security features of these notes are representative of the reforms we are undertaking to ensure honest and efficient transactions and of our rejection of the rotten ways that once submerged us in darkness.
Our currency has always served as the outside world’s window to our country’s gifts of nature and heritage. In fact, we even use the indigenous material abaca in the composition of the notes. But more than that, they are tangible artifacts of a culture we are proud of. I feel particularly honored to have my signature printed alongside the images of my parents and other heroes who have worked nobly to establish and preserve our sovereignty. The great Filipinos on our banknotes all aspired for a Philippines unafraid to take its place in the sun. The addition of my mother’s image to this group reminds us all of our inherent culture of honesty, faithfulness, and accountability. All of which have served us vitally in the past.
It does make me happy, as a son and as a Filipino, to have my parents in the same bank note. It is a testament to what they sacrificed for our people and a testament to their love for our country. It also serves as a constant reminder for me that my parents were more fortunate than I in finding that person that made them whole and allowed them to achieve the heights that they did.
Last time I checked, no other banknote in the world has both parents and child on the same bill. Kulang na lang po talaga ang bunso kong kapatid na si Kris at si Bimby. Yes, this is unprecedented. But what is on the bill is merely my signature, not my face. In short, unlike the heroes whose lives are now immortalized in our currency, I cannot rest yet. There is work to be done. And I have taken that task of fulfilling the dreams and aspirations our heroes had for our beloved Philippines. I am not a hero. I am just a man fortunate enough to serve his people in the highest level: Kayo po pa rin po ang aking mga boss.
These bank notes are also a celebration of the beauty of our country. They are a window for the world to view the Philippines—its bounties of nature and the people to whom God has entrusted them. Even as we recall our heroes who have triumphed over adversity, let these bank notes reflect the new value of our collective efforts to go from strength to strength and build on the successes of the past with even more success in the here and now.
Before I end, you would notice the image of a sun radiating at the back of the 500 peso bills. This is what we have fought for and this is what the Filipino people achieved last May—a government that works doubly hard to bring its people into the light of day once more. Let us continue down this path. May the bills we are launching today remind us of the cost of our current freedom and of what this country asks of us, especially during times of hardship. Together, let us defend this daylight we have clamored so long for. Together, let us rebuild this country.
Thank you and good day to all of you.