Launching of Lapulapu Banknote
Posted on 24 January 2021
By Rene R. Escalante, Ph.D.
Opening remarks delivered during the launching of the 5000-piso Lapulapu commemorative banknote and medal, 18 January 2021, Fort San Antonio Abad, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Malate, Manila
Today, we are gathered in this venue to witness one major activity connected to our commemoration of the quincentennial anniversary of the victory of the Filipinos in the Battle of Mactan. To put this event in its proper context, let me state that as a nation we have various ways of recognizing and paying tribute to illustrious Filipinos who have contributed to our struggle to make our country free and prosperous. In the case of our heroes of the Philippine Revolution, we built monuments, shrines, and museums to perpetuate their memory and to promote the principles and values they fought for. In the case of Rizal for instance, the NHCP maintains a national monument and three museums that depict the major episodes of his life. We have one in Calamba where he was born, another one in Dapitan where he was exiled and the last one is in Fort Santiago where he spent the last days of this life. We also honor our heroes by declaring their death or birth anniversary as a national holiday so that Filipinos will have time to pay tribute to them. We also immortalize our national heroes through street names and by featuring them in our currency.
One of the promises of President Duterte, when he was campaigning in Cebu five years ago, was to elevate the status of Lapulapu from a mere local hero of Cebu into a national hero. As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world and the victory of our ancestors in the Battle of Mactan, let us take this opportunity to give Lapulapu the honor he truly deserves. This is an opportune time for us to recognize a hero who originated from the Visayas and somebody who lived in the pre-colonial times.
On behalf of the National Quincentennial Committee under the able leadership of Executive Secretary Medialdea, let me take this opportunity to thank BSP Gov. Diokno and the whole BSP family for granting our request to bring back Lapulapu in our currency. Our original proposal to BSP was to revive the old 2,000-bill that was issued during the centennial of Philippine independence in 1998. But as we will see later, BSP decided to feature Lapulapu in a new banknote worth 5,000 pesos.
The Lapulapu banknote that will be launched a few minutes from now is a bit different from our existing banknotes because the image of the featured hero is not based on an archival photo. Like the Lapulapu statue that we have in Luneta Park, in the Liberty Shrine in Cebu, and in other parts of the country, what you will see later is only an artist rendition done by Mr. Carlo Caacbay based on what has been recorded in primary and contemporary sources. Indeed, it is unfortunate that because of temporal distance and lack of credible sources, no detailed physical description of Lapulapu survived in time.
To make Lapulapu at par with Rizal, Bonifacio, and other Filipino heroes of the Philippine Revolution, the NQC is proposing to build a new museum in Lapulapu City. We will do this in partnership with the LGU of Lapulapu city under Mayor Ahong Chan. It will feature Lapulapu and other heroes of 1521. Another NQC initiative that I want to share is the proposal to rename Mactan-Cebu International Airport to Lapulapu international Airport. The last time I called Congress I learned that it is already under consideration by the House Committee on transportation. As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan, we will be sponsoring a lot of activities to gird towards the recognition of Lapulapu as a national hero. We in the NQC are expecting that after all these undertakings, the dream of Pres. Duterte will be fulfilled which is that every time we hear the word Lapulapu, what should come to our mind is the historic chieftain of Mactan who drove the Spaniards away from our country and not the delicious fish that we eat in Chinese restaurants.
Rene R. Escalante, Ph.D. is the Chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the concurrent Vice-Chairperson and Executive Director of the National Quincentennial Committee.