DTI told to assists monitor coin hoarding activities

The Cebu Bankers Club (CBC) is currently drafting a position paper to urge the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) to participate in the campaign to curtail the coin shortage problem, especially within the region.

This is with regards to the proliferation of automated machines that use coins, as tokens, as this are considered as one of the factors that contribute to the declining of coin supply in the circulation, said CBC president Claro B. Cabaero.

CBC had been very active in supporting the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) program to prevent severe shortage of coin supply.

According to Cabaero, CBC will ask the DTI-7 to help in monitoring the hoarding of coins among automated machine operators that include the Automated Tubig Machine (ATM), Piso-Piso Internet machine, Karaoke, and even the illegal Karera machines.

In a separate earlier interview with BSP-7 office-in-charge Maria Luz Berciles, she said that the region has enough allocation of coins. However, the supply is weakened due to the existence of coin hoarders such as operators of several vending machines, and other factors.

According to Berciles, the BSP is set to manufacture new coins by 2014, thus there is an aggressive move to flush-out the coins that are being kept in the piggy-banks, and secured within the area of large community where vending machines like ATM (automated tubig machine), Piso-Piso Internet, P5 coin operated Karaoke, and the Karera machines.

Unless, these major coin hoarders will not respond to the call to flush-out of circulate the coins in the system, the Philippines is seen to face a severe environment of coin shortage, which will certainly affect the consumers.

On the other hand, BSP through its National Coin Recirculation Program, is asking the banking sector to be pro-active in its campaign for coin circulation.

BSP also urged the banking sector to provide and accept coins from retailers, individuals, NGOs, and invest in facilities that will ensure the smooth flow of coins within the economy.

“BSP continues to upgrade and expand its capacity to print our banknotes and mint our coins to cope with our growing population and economy,” said BSP director for corporate affairs Fe M. De La Paz.

She said while the use of credit cards and debit cards continues to rise, cash remains the payment of choice in the Philippine economy

The move to work closely with DTI-7 is CBC’s current primary thrust to identify the large coin hoarders. CBC will also work with the Local Government Units (LGUs) on this concern.

In a severe coin shortage scenario, the consumers can not move anymore. Scarcity of coin within the system is detrimental to daily movement of consumers, commuters, and traders.

Before, the Philippines or Cebu could experience this state, BSP-7 together with CBC are actively moving in order to maintain a healthy trading system.

As of December 2009, there were 15.6 billion pieces of coins with a total face value of P16.9 billion. About 88 percent of total coins in circulation are low-denomination coins; the 25 centavos, 10 centavos, five centavos, and one centavo.

Based on 15.6 billion coins in circulation as of December 2009 and an estimated population of 92.2 million, the ratio of coin to population is 169 coins for each Filipino.

If BSP will include the 8.7 million Filipinos working abroad, the ratio moves up to 186 per head. (FREEMAN)

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