VERA FILES FACT CHECK: This P500 banknote design featuring a tarsier is FAKE


A Facebook (FB) post falsely claimed that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released a new banknote design by carrying a manipulated image of a P500 bill featuring a tarsier. This is fake.

“Walang P500 na ang nakalagay ay tarsier.. It’s not true talaga. Inedit nila ‘yan (There’s no P500 bill featuring a tarsier… It’s really not true. They edited that),” Nenette Malabrigo, bank officer V of BSP’s Currency Analysis and Issuance Group, told VERA Files Fact Check via phone call.

The manipulated image, posted on Dec. 12 by FB page Even Demata, insinuated that the portraits of former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and former president Cory Aquino will be removed from the P500 banknote. Several netizens cheered in the comments.

BSP currently adopts the new generation currency series updated in 2020, which shows the Aquino portraits featured in the P500 banknote. Malabrigo reminded people that they could check the design of currencies on their website.

A reader asked VERA Files Fact Check to debunk the claim.

A reverse image search of the photo shows that the photo of the tarsier was actually a 2017 vector illustration created by Russian illustrator Evgeny Turaev.

The fake P500 banknote design copied the flower watermark and the holographic logo from the new P1000 design released by the BSP for its test banknotes.

Demata’s post included a link, allegedly carrying more details about the banknote redesign. But the link redirects to an advertisement for online shopping site Lazada.

The erroneous post appeared a day after the BSP announced on Dec. 11 its new design for a P1000 polymer bill featuring the Philippine eagle instead of portraits of World War II heroes Josefa Lllanes Escoda, Jose Abad Santos, and Vicente Lim.

The BSP will create new designs for the P500 bill and other denominations if the P1000 polymer banknotes gain positive reception upon circulation in April 2022, Malabrigo said.

“Since the theme is flora and fauna, pwedeng flower (it can be a flower), let’s say sampaguita… The BSP does not know yet the design of other denominations,” the BSP officer explained.

Even Demata (created in March 2011)’s false post and fake image garnered 19,000 reactions, 3,300 comments, and 19,000 shares on Facebook.

Other FB pages such as Pobreng Tagapaglingkod-Founder Bhong David (created in October 2018), Ok. (created on February 2019), PRC and NBI Online Appointment Service (created on December 2019), and a netizen reposted the claim, getting a total of over 47,000 interactions.


Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form or send it to ‘VERA, the truth bot’ on Viber.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)