The eagle has landed

Published November 27, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

In the first sequel of the 2001 Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, Hector Elizondo, who portrayed Mia’s (Anne) close-in bodyguard, was heard saying: “The Eagle has Landed,” referring to the arrival of Clarisse, the Queen of the European Kingdom of Genovia and the unknown grandmother of Mia.

This was to alert the other Palace guards, the advance party, on the arrival of Queen Clarisse in San Francisco, who was to inform Mia that she, in part, had royal blood. The Queen’s only son had passed away. He was Mia’s estranged father, making the shy teenager the sole heiress to the throne. Clarisse was the reigning queen but had to relinquish the crown at a given deadline.

Startled, of course, was the natural reaction of Mia, who lived with her mother in a refurbished firehouse. The mother and  daughter lived simply, way below grandiose.

The plot of this feel-good movie suddenly came to mind last Friday, following the unveiling of the new Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) logo, which riled up not only the netizens, but also market players, market analysts, and even some bank chief executives.

In the Princess Diary movie, there has been an announcement. Comparably, the unveiling of the new BSP, considered a milestone, was undertaken merely through  a press release.  BSP justified the change as “part of its strategy to become more relevant” to Filipinos.  

 “What gives? If it ain’t broke, why fix or why change?” “ Is there a need for a rebranding? “… These were some of the “more rational” queries raised. Others likened the new BSP coat of arms to the emblem of the US government flag while some equated it to a commercial endorsement of a beer product, and a regional airline logo.

In a more sober comment, a market observer viewed the yellow or gold color of the eagle as probably standing for money and blue for integrity. However, it lacks dynamism. “The BSP so-called new logo is similar to the US logo but inferior because it looks dead, featuring only two basic colors – yellow and blue.” In contrast,  the US logo “has a richer story to tell with many more elements: leaves, arrows, white tail of the eagle, E Pluribus Unum slogan meaning From many, one’.”

No criticism here.  I’m merely sharing the back story based on my interviews.   Here’s what I’ve gathered: The new design was crafted by in-house graphic artists, who came up with a number of designs anchored on the same elements of the prevailing emblem – the Philippine eagle, three stars, and the circular shape.

True, the numismatic  committee chaired by retired Deputy Gov. Diwa Guinigundo that was earlier disbanded to oversee this undertaking has not been resurrected. Several designs were submitted to the authorities for close scrutiny. “A tedious process was followed before obtaining the approval of the  final design,” with the full-bodied eagle and completely rendered in gold. 

“While the strong foundation of the BSP brand remains the same, its visual representation in the form of the logo requires an update to infuse the institution with renewed vitality, underscore its integrity and competence,” the press release quoted BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno explaining.

My space will not judge the merits and drawbacks of the new design, for which the BSP has received heavy beating. No matter how compelling the explanations are, there will still be critics.

Similarly as Mia, the reluctant heiress to the throne in the Princess Diary movie, accept her new role, we, the citizens, will also have to agree and take the change in the BSP coat of arms as in line with the changing and challenging times. 

True, the new BSP eagle has landed. However, it is allowed to fly for now to use up its two-year homing device. It will finally land when the new design is incorporated in all of the BSP materials – official envelopes, bond papers, including the new currency series, which will be completed in a couple of years.

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