Rizal on P1 coin makes him accessible
By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
Manila, Philippines – Why is our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal whose 150th birth anniversary is being commemorated by Filipinos today, featured on a low denomination or P1 coin?
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has a simple answer: putting Rizal on a low-denomination coin makes him accessible to all Filipinos.
“Well, our answer is simple: By featuring him on our P1 coins, we give honor to our national hero Jose Rizal by making him truly accessible to all Filipinos,” said BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.
He said there are about five billion P1 coins circulating in the country today and they represent about 30 percent of the total coins in circulation.
“We can truly say therefore that Jose Rizal is a constant presence and inspiration in our midst,” Tetangco said.
In celebration of Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary, Tetangco revealed that the BSP is set to produce special edition legal tender circulation coins bearing Rizal’s image and the “150 years” inscription before the end of 2011.
He added that the central bank would also produce a special commemorative medal bearing Rizal’s image, his signature, and his handwritten phrase “Adios Patria Adorada.”
Rizal has been featured on various coin and banknote denominations ranging from a low of five centavos to as high as P100 since 1903.
“Through legal tender coins and banknotes issued in the last 108 years, our grateful nation has been continuously paying tribute to our national hero,” the BSP chief said.
The BSP is paying tribute to the national hero through an exhibition of Philippine banknotes and coins.
The exhibit “Rizal in Our Midst: A Homage to Greatness” showcases the different denominations where the image of Rizal or his monument appears.
“We will also bring this exhibit across the country. Together, these should create more interest and awareness of our national hero here among our people. Indeed, all Filipinos should know about Jose Rizal and be proud that he is one of us,” he said.
During the opening of the exhibit last June 10, Tetangco presented to the descendants of Rizal a framed replica of Jose Rizal banknotes, coins and commemorative medals.
Descendants present during the event were Amelia Garcia Yulo, Enrique Herbosa, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Mia Faustmann, lawyer Ramoncita Reyes, Ismael Guerrero Cruz Jr., Patricia Herbosa Grau, Jose Rizal Lopez, Vivencio Villaruz Jr., Alberto Filart, Securities and Exchange Commission chairperson Teresita Herbosa, and Carmen Cruz.
The family members descended from Rizal’s brother Paciano and sisters Lucia, Saturnina, Maria, Narcisa, and Olimpia.
According to Tetangco, the lives and works of Rizal inspired and galvanized the creation of Asia’s first constitutional democracy – the Republic of the Philippines.
“This became a keystone in Asia’s struggle to be free of colonizers and tyrants,” he said.