Showing posts with label central bank of the philippines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label central bank of the philippines. Show all posts

Banknotes and coins: The 'calling cards of the nation

Money talk brings about certain moods. We get sad and irritated when there's a lack of it, giddy when we receive crisp bills as "pamasko," proud with a glint in the eye when we have too much of it, and always frustrated when the bills have to be paid.

But during the Jose Rizal Lecture at the 2011 Philippine PEN (Poets and Playwrights, Essayists, and Novelists) Conference, historian and author Ambeth Ocampo made his audience smile without throwing cash at them, instead making them ponder about how our banknotes—the "common, everyday things" we fish out of wallets and pockets—speak about us Filipinos.

Ocampo, considered an "expert" on all things Rizal, called bills and coins "calling cards of a country."

"They tell a story, they're an official view of history," he said at the conference held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last December 2. "But banknotes are such common, everyday objects that we don't notice them."

When we do, it's to criticize, he said, noting how the New Generation bills launched last year drew flak for "faulty" designs, particularly the "geographically wrong" map of the Philippines printed at the back of the 1,000-peso bill.

Ocampo, who was "the only outsider" on the Numismatic Committee of the Bangko Sentral of the Philippines (BSP) that recommended approval of the bills, offered in good humor: "You can blame me," which he withdrew by saying "I'm always consulted but I'm never really listened to."

And while he agreed with President Benigno Aquino III, who countered criticisms by noting that you wouldn't consult a thousand-peso bill for directions, the historian pointed out that these little matters—like lost islands that you won't notice in a map at first glance—show how unsure we are of ourselves, especially in our claim over territories like the Spratlys and Sabah.

"Just to show you how different we are from Indonesia: the back of their 100,000 bill has a map. When you look at [it], the map in their money has Papua New Guinea and Malaysia in it. They actually claim it. They're very secure about themselves and what they own.

In the Philippines, not only don't we know the exact number [of our islands], we also don't put disputed territories in it," he said, adding that what goes into the map is something that "should be discussed."

Faces of heroes

Ocampo also discussed the faces that defined our currencies, which he said reflected "what we tend to think of ourselves."

He shared the pitch he made when he was first told about the BSP coming up with the new generation currency: get rid of all its current "faces," replace them with "people who are younger—no more 19th century heroes."

"And I said, 'Why don't we put artists and writers?' The Central Bank, of course, said no. They refused to look at it," he said. "It would have been a way for people to learn about their artists and their writers."

Saying that they didn't have time with the buzz of the upcoming elections, the BSP retained all the faces in the notes—save for the inclusion of former President Cory Aquino in the 500-peso bill and the removal of Gloria Arroyo at the back of the 200-peso bill.

Ocampo, who was "the only outsider" on the Numismatic Committee of the Bangko Sentral of the Philippines (BSP) that recommended approval of the bills, offered in good humor: "You can blame me," which he withdrew by saying "I'm always consulted but I'm never really listened to."

And while he agreed with President Benigno Aquino III, who countered criticisms by noting that you wouldn't consult a thousand-peso bill for directions, the historian pointed out that these little matters—like lost islands that you won't notice in a map at first glance—show how unsure we are of ourselves, especially in our claim over territories like the Spratlys and Sabah.

"Just to show you how different we are from Indonesia: the back of their 100,000 bill has a map. When you look at [it], the map in their money has Papua New Guinea and Malaysia in it. They actually claim it. They're very secure about themselves and what they own.

In the Philippines, not only don't we know the exact number [of our islands], we also don't put disputed territories in it," he said, adding that what goes into the map is something that "should be discussed."

Faces of heroes

Ocampo also discussed the faces that defined our currencies, which he said reflected "what we tend to think of ourselves."

He shared the pitch he made when he was first told about the BSP coming up with the new generation currency: get rid of all its current "faces," replace them with "people who are younger—no more 19th century heroes."

"And I said, 'Why don't we put artists and writers?' The Central Bank, of course, said no. They refused to look at it," he said. "It would have been a way for people to learn about their artists and their writers."

Saying that they didn't have time with the buzz of the upcoming elections, the BSP retained all the faces in the notes—save for the inclusion of former President Cory Aquino in the 500-peso bill and the removal of Gloria Arroyo at the back of the 200-peso bill.

Regardless of whether Rizal's presence in the one-peso coin is a step down or a mode of remembrance, Ocampo noted the result of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted early this year, which showed that "as far as the people are concerned, Rizal is their National Hero."

Ocampo noted that Rizal led "by a huge margin" of more than 80 percent. His "contender," Bonifacio, was "a far third" with only 1.9 percent.

But he said Filipinos should stop making the National Hero title such a competition among the 19th century heroes.

"Rizal, Bonifacio, Aguinaldo—they are all national heroes. It's not about asking young people 'Rizal or Bonifacio,' but telling them, 'You have two heroes. You have Rizal and Bonifacio,'" he said.

Ocampo also zoomed in on the fact that sandwiched between these 19th century figures was pound-for-pound king and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, who got 2.8 percent.

"When you look at the list of names, there's Erap (former President Joseph Estrada), FPJ (Action King and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.), Chiz Escudero... So you have to ask yourself, who names these heroes and why do the people consider them as such?" he added.

As his lecture came to a close, Ocampo expressed his hopes that "common things" like banknotes would "make us appreciate—or not appreciate—people."

"Later on, when you open your wallet, give it a second look and think not just about history. Ask, 'Do these bills embody what we think we are?' And maybe it should help us reflect on the nation that we want to be, the nation that we hope to be, and, more importantly, the nation that, often, we fail to be," he said. — KG/ELR,gmanewstv

BSP to introduce 100-M crisp banknotes in the coming month

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will introduce into circulation a hundred million new generation currency (NGC) banknotes in time for the Christmas holiday season when crisp peso bills are all the rage, especially with children who get money as their aguinaldo.

These peso bills will be added to the almost 300 million currency notes already in circulation. Recently, the New Generation banknote won a top international prize in a recent design competition held in Singapore.

Despite the effort of the government to familiarize the public regarding these notes, several complains are being received by the BSP including the notes unattractive design which can be considered ironic in spite of the recent award it bagged.

The public is also being warned that counterfeit money will be out again in mass this holiday. People are being to be cautious and scrutinize bills passed on to them especially those of higher denominations.

BSP Notes won top prize despite controverisies

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will introduce into circulation a hundred million new generation currency (NGC) banknotes in time for the Christmas holiday season when crisp peso bills are all the rage, especially with children who get money as their aguinaldo.

These peso bills will be added to the almost 300 million currency notes already in circulation.

The NGC banknotes recently won a finalist award for Best New Banknote Series in a conference in Singapore, despite being criticized for some errors and controversies.

Earlier this year, these notes became the subject of political and religious discussions due to the fact that some of the details were either not correct or insufficient.

Moreover, the new notes carry the slogan "PINAGPALA ANG BAYAN NA ANG DIYOS AY ANG PANGINOON" which has outraged some religious sects.

Best New Currency Feature?

The NGC version of the 500-peso and 1000-peso bills have an additional feature known as an optical variable device (OVD) patch and had won in the category of “Best New Currency Feature" — comparable to the dollar and Euro bills.

The OVD patch is a reflective foil that bears the image of BSP Logo with a parrot on the 500-peso bill and the South Sea Pearl inside a clam in the 1000-peso bill, which changes colors when the notes are rotated 90 degrees.

“The judges must have been impressed because of the beautiful combination between the security features and the design itself, and the play of colors," said BSP Vice Governor Diwa Guinigundo in an interview with Saleema Refran on GMA News TV's SONA.

The new bills were printed in France and are composed of 20 percent abaca fibers. But by the end of next year, the BSP expects to be able to print NGC banknotes here in the Philippines.

Sto. Tomas...then UP, now Ateneo...what's next?

The year of 2011 is the year of overhauls and overprints of the current Philippine notes. The most controversial of which, is the issue behind some landmarks of the country and the proper way of writing scientific names, the portrait of figures who were made to look younger, the unattractive and eye sore bright colors, and so on. Most controversial among the changes is the phrase placed on the face of the banknote itself aside from the confusion it brought to the public as they became unfamiliar with the association of the notes color with its face value.

Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) quickly withdrew the notes and instead of revising the notes errors has instead re-issued the previous design and just changed the signatories to the current President of the Republic and the current Governor of the Central Bank, Benigno S. Aquino III and Amando M. Tetanco Jr respectively.

Last July, BSP issued the 100-piso bill which bears the overprinted logo of the University of the Philippines College of Law in celebration of the 100 years of Excellence in Law (1911-2011) of the premier public educational system of the country. This is the second time, BSP issued 100-piso bills which bears an overprinted logo of the institution as the University of the Philippines system itself celebrated its 100th year foundation day last 2008.

This month of August, BSP again issued another 100-piso overprint but this time with the logo of the Ateneo De Manila College of Law as the institution itself celebrates its 75th year foundation day( 75 YEARS ATENEO LAW SCHOOL AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM).

The 100 pesos which bears the date 2011 (similar to P194), but with blue 75 YEARS ATENEO LAW SCHOOL and the latin phrase AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM ("FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD") overprint on the watermark area.

This is the third time this year that BSP notes hosted the foundations of the leading educational institutions in the country, earlier this year the University of Sto. Tomas foundation day was hosted on the 200-piso bills as they celebrate their 400-year foundation.

BSP presented Jose Rizal on Philippine Currencies Since 1903 to descendants

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) pays tribute to national hero Jose Rizal, whose 150th birth anniversary is on Sunday, June 19, through an exhibition of Philippine banknotes and coins. The exhibit “Rizal in Our Midst: A Homage to Greatness” showcases the different denominations ranging from five centavos to as high as 100 pesos since 1903 where the image of Rizal or his monument appears. Today, Rizal is on one-piso coins, making him accessible to most Filipinos. About five billion one-piso coins or 30 percent of total coins are in circulation today. On June 19, BSP will launch a commemorative medal bearing Rizal’s image, his signature and his handwritten phrase “Adios Patria Adorada.” BSP will also issue special edition legal tender one-piso coins bearing Rizal’s image and the “150 years” inscription before the end of 2011. At the opening of the exhibit, BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco, Jr. (center) flanked by Monetary Board Members Alfredo Antonio and Nelly Favis-Villafuerte presented to the descendants of Rizal a framed replica of Jose Rizal banknotes, coins and commemorative medals. They are (front row): Amelia Garcia Yulo, Enrique Herbosa, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Mia Faustmann, Atty. Ramoncita Reyes and Ismael Guerrero Cruz, Jr. (back row): Patricia Herbosa Grau, Jose Rizal Lopez, Vivencio Villaruz, Jr., Alberto Filart, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita Herbosa and Carmen Cruz. The family members descended from Rizal’s brother Paciano and sisters Lucia, Saturnina, Maria, Narcisa and Olimpia.

Rizal coins and medals have been popularly produced and minted by other private organization, relgious sect or cults, educational institutions, and other foreign countries. Some medals are even treated with Godly respect and power like those of Rizalistas and other local masonic organizations.

BSP to produce Rizal's 150th Anniversary medal

During the centennial celebration of Rizal's day, the Central Bank of the Philippines minted in limited quantities 50 centavo and 1-piso coins showing two angles of Rizal's bust. The coins were produced in the United States and were made of .900 fine silver.

The mintage of both coins were just limited to just 100, 000 pieces each, and were assigned as KM 192 and 193 in the Coin Catalog.

Descendants of Dr. Jose Rizal are working with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to produce a commemorative medal in time for the national hero's 150th birth anniversary this June.

Ramoncita Reyes, great granddaughter of Saturnina Rizal, the hero's eldest sister, said the family decided to participate in the national celebration by creating a gold-plated medal.

“This commemorative medal will be produced for a limited number but it won’t be used for commercial transactions,” said Reyes.

The coin-like medal features Rizal's image on the front while the back carries his signature and “Adios, Patria Adorada”, taken from “Mi Ultimo Adios” (My Last Farewell) written before he was executed in 1896.

The reverse side also depicts sunrise, marking the time of Rizal's execution in Bagumbayan (now Luneta Park).

“'Adios, Patria Adorada' for us, relatives, does not only mean goodbye to the country. It also means he is hoping that the country would move on be well,” said Reyes.

She added the BSP is yet to announce how many Rizal commemorative medals it will produce distribute and at what price will these be sold.

Reyes, who belongs to the fourth-generation of Rizals, said she did not personally feel any extra pressure to do well in school.

“I believe every student is expected to do good in school by their parents. In our case, it's not just because we are descendants of the national hero,” she said.

Reyes, meanwhile, lamented the country's current condition. “It’s been 150 years (since he was born), but where are we now? It hasn’t changed much since he left.”

She is hoping, though, that the youth will still carry on the national hero's ideals.

“He (Rizal) would always want to mentor the youth. I hope the young generation would become more aware of his ideals just like those in foreign countries who believe in him.”

The Papal Coinage and Medals

Not known to many Filipinos, Bayani Rumbaoa is the official engraver and designer of the famous Pope John Paul II commemorative coin during the celebration of the World Youth Day held in Manila in the year 1995. The year was the second visit of the recently beatified Pope in Manila and his first as a Pope was in the year of 1981.

During the Pope’s first visit, Imelda Marcos commissioned Tupas Medal and Coin Engraver to design and engrave medals that would feature the late President’s bust, Ferdinand Marcos and that of the Pope and another medal where both busts are placed on each side of the medal.

Contrary to popular sources on the internet, Rumbaoa is not the first coin engraver of the BSP but Tupas was commissioned by the BSP prior to its establishment during the abolition of the earlier design inherited from the Commonwealth where the design of Melecio Figueroa was utilized. In 1981 at the earliest years of the BSP, the President himself ordered several medals from Tupas that would serve as pattern for the planned coins of Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas. One of those designs was exclusively ordered to commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II.

Tupas was not new in designing and engraving the Papal medal and coin. In 1970, during the visit of Pope Paul VI, Tupas was commissioned by the Central Bank to produced medals and pattern coins for the occasion. The preferred design where the President and Pope’s bust were placed on both side of the coin was produced for general circulation and were minted both in proof and uncirculated and were struck in nickel, silver, and gold catalogue in Krause as KM 202, 202A, and 202B.

These coins were minted in Franklint Mint located in the United States where other coins of the Central Bank were also being struck at that time.

Franklin Mint was otherwise commissioned to strike the Papal coinage in 1981; these coins were the 50-piso silver coin (KM 233) and the 1500-piso gold coin.

During the last visit of Pope John Paul II in 1995, several coins were struck by different mint houses to commemorate the occasion. Some issues remain unofficial and with record of mintages still unknown. Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas officially released two (23) different of coins, the first one is struck in silver with the denomination of 100-piso (KM 264) and the second one is struck in gold with a denomination of 2500-piso (KM 266).

Pobjoy Mint of England otherwise produced two (2) coins for the occasion, they were issued in 100 and 200-piso denominations. However, these coins are very rare with mintages still unknown.

Tips on spotting genuine notes in circulation

In the booklet “Know Your Philippine Currency," the BSP advised the public to study and familiarize the characteristics, designs and distinct features of the central banknotes.

The following are some practical steps to tell genuine BSP notes:

* Feel the paper – Genuine notes are printed on a special kind of paper, which is rough when running the fingers on it. It does not glow under ultraviolet light. The watermark, security fibers, security threads and irisdescent band are included during paper manufacture.

* Examine the watermark on the unprinted portion of the note – The watermark is the silhouette of the portrait appearing on the face of the note. Sharp details of the light and shadow effect can be seen when the note is viewed against the light. The contours of the features of the silhouette are slightly raised and can be felt by running the fingers over the design of relatively new notes.

* Inspect the security fibers— Embedded red and blue visible fibers are scattered at random on both surfaces of genuine notes and can be readily picked off by means of any pointed instrument.

* View the embedded security thread—The embedded security thread is a special thread vertically implanted off the center of the note during paper manufacture. This can easily be seen when the note is viewed against the light. It appears as a broken line in 10s and 20s and straight line in 50s, 100s, 200s, 500s and 1000s.

* View the windowed security thread on the improved version of 100s, 500s and 1000s notes and the new 200s notes— The windowed security thread is a narrow security thread vertically located like stitches at the face of the note with clear text of the numerical value in repeated sequence and changes in color from magenta to green and green to magenta, depending on the angle of the view.

* Look for the irisdescent (like rainbow) band or the wide glistening gold vertical stripe with the numerical value printed in series.

* Recognize the portrait—It appears life-like, the eyes “sparkle." Shadings are formed by the fine lines that give the portrait a characteristic facial expression, which is extremely difficult to replicate.

* Check the serial number—It is composed of 1 or 2 prefix letters and 6 or 7 digits. The letters and numerals are uniform in size and thickness, evenly spaced, well aligned, and glow under the ultraviolet light. A banknote with six “0" digit serial number is a specimen note and not legal tender note.

* Scan the background/lacework design—The background designs are made up if multicolored and well defined lines. The lacework designs are composed of web-crisscrossing lines, which are continuous and traceable even at the intersection.

* Verify the vignette—The lines and dashes composing the vignette are fine, distinct and sharp; the varying color tone gives a vivid look to the picture that makes it “stand out" of the paper.

* Check the numerals found at the four corners of the front and back of the note—The numerals show the denomination of the bill.

* Recognize predominant color of each denomination: P1000 (blue), P500 (yellow), P200 (green), P100 (mauve), P50 (red), P20 (orange)

* Look for the presence of fluorescent print when the note is exposed under the ultraviolet light—The fluorescent print is the invisible numerical value located off center of the face of the note that glows when exposed to ultraviolet light.

* Verify under the lens the presence of microprinting on the denominations 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000—Microprintings are the minute and finely printed words “Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas" or Central Bank of the Philippines" located at the face or back of the note that are clearly printed and readable.

* Check the concealed value on the P500 denomination—This concealed value is located at the lower left corner of the face of the note and is recognizable when the note is held at eye level.

* Check the optically variable ink on the P1000 denomination—It changes color from green to blue or blue to green when the note is held at different angles.

When receiving a suspected counterfeit bill, people are advised not to return the note to the person who gave it, the BSP said. The central bank said remembering the person’s face and other information about him or her would be helpful.

The BSP said recipients of bogus bills should turn over these to the BSP’s Currency Analysis and Redemption Division in Room 202, Multi-Story Building, BSP Complex, Malate, Manila, or to the nearest BSP regional office. The currency analysis division can be reached at 524-7011 local 2296 and 524-2777.

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)

New Generation Notes cause New Controversies

The already controversial note may become even more controversial as new criticism on the notes slogan “PINAGPALA ANG BAYAN NA ANG DIYOS AY ANG PANGINOON.” (Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.)

In the February 03 episode of the 700 Club Asia, “IKAW, PERA AT AKO!” where Lito Bunag, the designer of the New Generation currency explained how the new notes differ from the previous issues. He cited that instead of the usual I.O.U.'s phrase “ANG SALAPING ITO AY UMIIRAL SA PILIPINAS AT PAMBAYAD SA LAHAT NG URI NG PAGKAKAUTANG.” the new notes now carry the phrase “PINAGPALA ANG BAYAN NA ANG DIYOS ANG PANGINOON” which is according to the program was derived from the bible itself.

Makulay, madetalye at maganda na ang bagong bihis ng ating pera. Pinabatang larawan ng mga presidente, may burdang tela galing sa iba’t-ibang sulok ng ating bansa, bagong larawan ng mga kasaysayan, bagong hayop at may anti-bacterial pa. May bago rin itong security features para maiwasan ang counterfeiting. Nakasaad din ang katagang galing ng Bibliya: “Pinagpala ang bayan na Diyos ang Panginoon.” Isang paalala ito na kapag ang Diyos ang inuna, pagpapala at himala ay susunod na. Bukod sa kulay ay marami na ang nagbago isa-isa nating busisiin.

The Philippines as a democratic country and as a nation that recognize the rights of its citizen and a country that has not openly adopted any religion to its system and who is a state separate from the church should have scrutinized the new notes prior to its release.

The current design of the New Generation notes may cause outrage from other cultural and religious groups because of the country's religious diversity. Other radical groups may otherwise fuel their ideologies capitalizing on this single phrase.

The phrase itself already undermine the separation of the Church and the State since it already violated specific provisions in our Contitution.

The 1987 Constitution states that:

Section 6: The Separation of the Church and the State shall be inviolable

Anti-Bacterial, Environment Friendly, & Economical New Notes

Recent interviews of the designer of the new Philippine banknotes Lito Bunag himself, defend that the the details of the new banknotes was not intentionally undermining important facts and empirical data. Somehow, critics have affected the decision of the BSP to release the new banknotes. New notes have never seen mass circulation and have been obtainable only through online auctions such as Ebay or directly from either banks or the Central Bank.

The errors were not directly admitted by the designer but Design Systemat President Lito Buñag said, “Bank note printing is not like printing a brochure,” as his respond to critics citing that the new bills were intended for cultural icons’ representation and were not exact renditions of reality.

If we want to make the Philippine map that specific and accurate we would have had to draw all 7,000 islands,” deputy governor Diwa Gunigundo said in a radio interview. “What we wanted to do was abstract the general location of all these important parts of the Philippines.”

“We know that as in all major undertakings, there will be questions raised, as well as very specific recommendations on how it should be,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) stated. “[But] We take pride in our newly-designed banknotes that honor Filipinos who played significant roles at various moments of our nation’s history as well as the world heritage sites and iconic natural wonders we are proud of as Filipinos,” it added.

Lito Bunag instead boast some exceptional features of the new notes that have incorporated nationalism and economics, concern for the environment, and new technology. Bunag enumerated the three exceptional features of the new notes. Foremost, is the material used for the production of the notes which came from indigenous materials such as abaca, a native fiber in the Philippines.

The usage of the material does not only give importance for the love of our country but for economic reason, this will also help local farmers and other concerned industry since there will be no more importation of vital components aside from the fact that BSP will definitely save a relative sum of money.

Secondly, the new notes are also environment friendly because it is made of biodegradable materials which is very important especially today that the BSP still allocates a portion of their budget for the disposal and incineration of dilapidated and torn notes.

Finally, it is also anti-bacterial which is makes it more safe for mass circulation since we all know that money is one of the major carrier of harmful bacteria and viruses.

Even though the designer of the new notes admit that the new notes have several advance features, it is not yet clear however if its have been tested compatible to vending machines and ticket dispensers.

BSP issued 200-Piso Bill Commemorating UST 400th year

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas recently unveiled a limited commemorative 200-peso (US$4.50) note and gold and silver medals to celebrate the University of Santo Tomas 400th year anniversary.


The central bank will issue 10 million legal tender notes and 400 commemorative medals with no monetary value.


The central bank will also release 400 special copies of two uncut 200-peso bills equal to P400, matching UST’s years of existence.

This [currency overprint] symbolizes BSP’s recognition of the significance of UST as an educational institution.

The Philippine Postal Corp. also unveiled commemorative postage stamps featuring key landmarks of the campus which were declared national treasures last year, like the Main Building and the Arch of the Centuries.

Elenita San Diego, manager of the postage and philatelic department of Philpost, said post offices nationwide will soon begin using the stamps.


BSP Error Notes? What's the big deal?

The newly re-designed notes have not been mostly welcomed by critics and end-users alike mainly due to aesthetic reason and technical reason otherwise. Most critics are particularly pointing-out that the new bills have wrongly written the scientific names of the animals displayed or misplaced some geographical locations in the map of the Philippines.

For example, on the 200-peso bill, the tarsier’s scientific name was written as Tarsius Syrichta instead of the correct way, Tarsius syrichta.

According to scientists, there are two errors: the scientific name was not italicized; and the second word in the name should not begin with a capital letter.

Following scientific nomenclature rules, every living species is given a two-part name, with the first part the genus name and the second part the species name or epithet.

Other wildlife featured on the bills with wrongly written scientific names: whale shark (butanding), giant trevally (maliputo), palm civet, blue-naped parrot, and south sea pearl.

Birders have also pointed out that the Blue-naped Parrot, featured on the 500-peso bill, bears the wrong colors. Experts said the beak should be red and not yellow, while the tail should be yellow and not green.

In an interview, BSP spokesperson Fe de la Cruz said some of the inaccuracies in the colors may have been a limitation of the colors in the overall design of the bill.

Dr. Merab Chan, head of the Ateneo de Manila University's biology department, explained the guidelines in writing scientific names:
The first letter of the genus or generic name should be capitalized. The rest, including the whole of specific epithet, should be written in lower case. There should be a single space between the generic name and the specific epithet.

For example: Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
Use italics for generic name and specific epithet. When handwritten or using a typewriter with no italics, underline the words that should be italicized.

For example: Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi or Pithecophaga jefferyi)
Chan said a mistake made on a national currency comprised a "very big mistake" and should be corrected immediately and before the bills are circulated.

"They have to check things like that before putting it on our peso bills," she said. "They should have consulted and verified with a taxonomist first."

"I think they need to change it before they circulate the new bills," she added.

However, in an earlier interview, the BSP said it will make any necessary corrections in the next batch of bills that it will print.

"It's a work in progress, ang paggawa namin ng pera (We consider the new bills a work in progress)," de la Cruz said.

In a separate interview, BSP deputy governor Diwa Gunigundo said they will immediately correct the mistakes that can be corrected.

"Isasaayos 'yan kung may pagkakamali (We will correct the mistakes)," he said in a radio interview.
The new Philippine peso bill designs were unveiled by the BSP on December 16. The new designs featured the same heroes but used younger photos. The most notable change on the obverse (front) side of the bills was found in the 500-peso bill: the new banknotes featured both former President Corazon Aquino and her husband Senator Ninoy Aquino. Older bills only featured the former senator.

The reverse (back) sides of the bills now feature tourist sites like the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, the Banaue Rice Terraces, Taal Lake, the Mayon Volcano, Chocolate Hills, and the Tubbataha Reefs National Park.

The design of the new bills was criticized for supposedly containing errors in the geographical depiction of sites like the Tubbataha Reefs and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park.

The Batanes Islands, found at the country’s northernmost tip, had also been omitted from the illustration of the Philippine map found on the new bills.

De la Cruz said the Batanes Islands were not included because there was not enough space.

“Lahat ng komento ay iniipon namin, ie-evaluate at magkakaroon ng decision moving forward. Ang paggawa ng pera based sa plates, kung kailangan palitan, moving forward (We are collating and evaluating the criticisms about the new bills. Once we make the proper corrections we will implement them on the [printing] plates [for the next batch of bills to be printed.])," she said.


Paper money need not be aesthetically appealing in order to be considered proper for circulation. In the first place, money was produced without the intention of both public admiration and display but more of a simplified tool for expediting trade.

In our past especially during the time of World War 2, guerrilla notes were produced using either substandard or improvised equipment like typewriters or mimeographing machines and crude or mainly used paper like ballots, old documents, and pieces of old notebooks. The reasons for producing such notes was to counter Japanese economic rule by propaganda and acquire supplies from either both civilians and United States forces.

What makes some Philippine Guerilla notes unique from other notes are its simple but effective security features, which are the 3 signatures from three highest ranking officials in command of the guerrilla unit. These kind of approach are particularly exemplified in notes issued in the island of Samar.
Other guerrilla notes have either used inks that are very hard to imitate or paper ephemera which particularly made it unique. Such example is the 20 centavos Tacloban-Leyte issue which utilized old sample ballots.

In the past, the BSP circulated coins and banknotes that also had glaring mistakes on them.

In 1983, the scientific name of the Philippine eagle was wrongly minted on a 50-centavo coin deficting the Philippine Monkey-Eating eagle and the 10-centavo with the smallest fish from lake Buhi. The scientific name of the Philippine eagle is Pithecophaga jefferyi and pandaka pygmeae, but the central bank wrongly minted it as “Pithecobhaga jefferyi" and “pandaka pygmea” respectively.

Yet even though the scientific names spelling were corrected, they were not italicized as suggested by today's critics.

Other claims regarding geographical corrections should have been more retroactive, that it should have added the map of SABAH in BORNEO because the Philippines has a strong territorial claim to the island of Sabah against the government of Malaysia and setting aside otherwise the Kalayaan group of islands which is inside the Philippine territorial waters.

Personally, critics of the new notes have undermined other technical importance in favor of what they are only aware of. Money is a tool and not an ambassador of tourism. If the BSP will favor too much technicality, this piece of paper is not enough to enclosed our complicated history and and anomalous political and social structure and agenda.

The BSP's intention of printing new money is an answer to current currency wars being implemented by other powerful nations. The purpose of printing money is part of fiscal policy to ease up our debt and balance our budget. Our current notes maybe of unappealing to most of us but it is safe enough to say that it is doing its purpose.

Where our money is produced

Three decades ago, the Philippine government took an important step toward greater self-reliance with the establishment of a facility that would be responsible for the production of Philippine bills and coins.

The facility, located on East Avenue in Quezon City, is called the Security Plant Complex (SPC) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and is currently headed by Assistant Governor Evelyna Avila.

For most of our history, all our country's coins and banknotes were produced abroad. However, the shortages in coins in the early 1960s prompted the government to seriously consider the idea of producing currency in the country instead of importing all our coins and bills.

In 1975, the Security Plant Complex initially operated a printing plant for banknotes. Subsequently, it went into security printing works and the establishment of a gold refinery and mint.

Currently, the SPC prints circulation and commemorative banknotes. It also produces regular and special checks, e-passports, seafarer's identification and record books, documentary stamps, judicial title forms, and other non-security documents such as bills, bonds, and certificates.

SPC produces circulation coins as well as special coins and medals. It purchases the gold produced by small-scale miners and refines them to forms acceptable in the international gold bullion markets.

While part of our printed money requirements (and all coin blanks) are still outsourced, local production insures that we are able to maintain a comfortable buffer and contingency supply at all times. We also realize significant forex savings commensurate to the volume locally produced.

The amount of money to be printed depends on economic indicators, cash operations data and projected needs of the regional and branch offices of the BSP.

Printed money has an average life of one to five years, depending on frequency of use. Expectedly, lower denominated bills have a shorter life span than higher denominated bills.

The Security Plant Complex celebrated its 31st anniversary earlier this month. Events such as this provide us with a welcome opportunity to look back at the beginnings of an institution that has become such an important part of our economy and our daily lives.

Central Bank hires private printer to destroy paper money

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), who just alloted P2 billion to acquire a brand new currency printer, has been outsourcing the shredding and burning of defective security paper used for printing money to a private company located in Marikina.

Sources close to the Monetary Board, the central bank’s policy-making arm, said Monetary Board members were not informed that the Security Printing Complex (SPC), headed by assistant governor Eve Avila, has outsourced the destruction of security paper to a paper manufacturer and notebooks maker, Noah’s Paper Mills

But the same sources said even without approval, deliveries started this month and at least two BSP armoured vehicles pick up the defective security paper from SPC three times a week for disposing. It was also disclosed that a special armoured car carrying higher-valued banknotes are scheduled every Saturday.

BSP officials were alarmed that SPC did not seek Monetary Board approval to contract a private company to handle the security paper used for making currency notes. The defective security paper was bought from a Spanish papermaker in 2004 to print P100 banknotes.

The Monetary Board is composed of seven members and chaired by the BSP governor, Amando M. Tetangco Jr. who has been with the central bank for more than 30 years. The rest of the board members, with the exception of twice re-appointed Raul Boncan, took on the job only in 2005 while Ignacio Bunye, former press secretary, was appointed last year.

The Monetary Board has already ordered SPC to submit a production report to account for volume and spoilage. BSP can print up to one billion pieces of banknotes at different denominations per year.

Sources said about six percent of SPC spoilage are destroyed but Monetary Board members want to know how defective money is being disposed of.

The BSP is already mired in controversies especially in the bidding of new currency printers.

It is planning to buy a superline currency printing press. The original proposal, which was approved by the Monetary Board in 2007, was to buy two superline printers but a decision was made last month to cut the budget by half.

Because of parties pushing for a negotiated bid, which would blow up the cost by as much as P2 billion, the Monetary Board has ruled that a straight out bidding process will be done.

Once the new printer is acquired, it will replace two printing presses, bought in the 1980s. BSP’s money shredding activities are also done in the Quezon City plant

BSP Gold Refinery

A few years ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) came out with a beautiful coffee table book entitled, “Ginto: History Wrought in Gold.” The book, which discussed our rich history in terms of our nation’s gold possessions, was the subject of one of my columns last year. A recent development at the BSP, which is in charge of refining Philippine gold to be sold to the international market, is worth another brief discussion.

Last May 28, the BSP gold refinery at the Security Plant Complex in Quezon City received good news from the London Bullion Market Association. The LBMA periodically certifies a list of refineries around the world that produce good quality gold.
Dr. Paterson Encabo, Deputy Director of the BSP Department of General Services, said the Bank’s gold refinery had passed the LBMA’s proactive monitoring gold assaying test.

The BSP, Encabo said, continues to be included in the LBMA-accredited Good Delivery List (GDL).

“This means that if we say that our gold has a purity of 99.5 percent, the international market accepts it at face value,” Encabo explained. More importantly, he stressed, being on the LBMA’s list means that those who buy BSP-refined gold bars trust their quality.

Encabo said that the London Gold Market, the precursor of LBMA, first recognized the then Central Bank of the Philippines refinery as an acceptable melter and assayer of “good delivery” bars in September 1979.

Good delivery bars are the final output of the refining process, which involves the separation of gold from other elements such as silver and base metals, and the casting of the refined gold into bars.

“That year was the start of our gold refinery’s operations,” the BSP official said, adding that the Philippines was then among the only three countries in Asia recognized by the London Gold Market.

The LBMA was not that strict in determining the quality of gold bars before, Encabo said. But in 2001, the association decided to become more proactive in monitoring the percentage of gold bars by way of each refinery’s assaying process.

The first step in the LBMA’s monitoring process starts with the taking of a “dip sample” the size of a button from the normal gold production melt. Half of the dip sample would be assayed (this refers to the actual process of determining the percentage of gold) at the BSP refinery while the other half is sent to the LBMA. The LBMA would then forward the sample to a third assayer, also referred to as the “referee,” for analysis. This third party ensures that there is no bias during the whole testing process, Encabo explained.

Encabo said this was the second time the BSP refinery made it to the LBMA list. It last passed the gold assaying test three years ago.

“The most recent test results are good for another three years,” Encabo said. He added that it was a great honor for the BSP hallmark (or actual seal on the gold bar) to be recognized and respected internationally.
* * *

My fellow Kiwanians from the Kiwanis Club of Muntinlupa, led by President Jimmy Ventura, recently had a field day visiting the BSP Money Museum and the pre-Hispanic gold collection at the Metopolitan Museum.

They oohed and aahed as Curator Ginny Cruz walked them through the different epochs in our history and explained the prevailing types of money during the period. They were also all amazed how our ancestors were able to make intricate and artistic gold ornaments with what were probably very crude tools at that time.

Another instant hit was the “money machine” which enabled the Kiwanian visitors to produce their own “money” with denominations up to P100,000 bearing their own photographs and signatures.

Both museums are open to the public Mondays to Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. --- courtesy of MB

BSP considering new designs of coins and notes vs. counterfeiting

The Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas is considering to change the design of our coins and banknotes to fight the proliferation of counterfeit banknotes and coins. BSP also admit that the current designs of our notes and coins have been utilized for the past 20 years now is counterfeits have been very familiar with the these designs.

The newly designed money will feature new advantages such as for blind people and other security measures against rampant counterfeiting. According to BSP, these notes and coins will become available in 2011.

BSP mulls shift to plastic money

Plastic money may soon find its way into the wallets of Filipinos as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) considers phasing out paper bills.

Unlike the traditional paper money, plastic money is not susceptible to "wear and tear" because it has a coating that protects it from dirt and moisture. It lasts longer in circulation and is harder to counterfeit.

Paper money is made out of abaca and cotton whereas plastic money is produced from polymer substrate, which is also used in making other plastic products such as garbage bins and plumbing fittings.The BSP said it got a proposal from Australia, the first country to have a full set of circulating plastic banknotes for all denominations, regarding the shift to polymer money.

"They proposed to us to start using it and we're studying the pros and cons," BSP Deputy Governor and Officer-in-Charge Armando Suratos said.

Aside from Australia, other countries that use plastic banknotes include Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Western Samoa, and Zambia.

On the other hand, countries that issue commemorative polymer notes include China, Kuwait, and Hong Kong.

Suratos admitted that polymer notes are more durable than the country's current paper bills. It could also prevent counterfeiting as plastic money would allow banknote manufacturers to incorporate security features such as optically variable devices that are difficult to reproduce.

However, Suratos said plastic bills would be more expensive to create. "We also have to consider how people handle bills."

At present, the Philippines prints money using a fiber composite of 20 percent abaca and 80 percent cotton. Suratos explained that the use of abaca fiber was deliberate, as this was meant to support the local abaca industry.

"We make sure Philippine abaca is used, not just any material. We ask them to certify their suppliers," he said.

Meanwhile, Suratos said the BSP has phased out P5 and P10 paper bills. "We have decided that in the new denominations, there will be no more P5 and P10 bills, but in coins only."

Bangko Sentral defends special deposit accounts

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) defended its decision to keep special deposit accounts (SDA), saying it will continue paying high interest to institutional investors as long as there was demand.

This was announced on Monday by BSP deputy governor Diwa C. Guinigundo, who attempted to defuse criticism that the SDAs were making less funds available for companies.

By paying investors high interest rates, SDAs – as a monetary tool –siphoned off cash from the financial system, reducing liquidity and thereby cutting inflation risks.

There were no indications that the need for SDA facilities were on the wane, Guinigundo said.

Shuttering the SDA facility would be equivalent to a major reduction in interest rates, a move that would release more funds into the system that has already been awash in liquidity ever since the BSP cut rates in December.

Some P500 billion in liquidity has already been made available for companies and borrowers especially after the BSP imposed consecutive rate reductions and eased deposit reserve requirements.

Treasury bills have been lower than the BSP’s overnight rates, making the SDA more attractive to investors.

While T-bills – especially the benchmark 91-day debt paper – helps government raise cash for its short-term needs, investors prefer putting their money in SDAs whose interest is government guaranteed.

The BSP’s policies covering the SDA would be market-driven, depending on demand, Guinigundo said.

“If there is demand for more liquidity, banks would naturally pull out their funds from the SDA," Guinigundo pointed out. “We believe that the market continues to work as a signaling device so we keep an eye on that before moving anything."

For his part, BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that releasing funds into the system makes cheap money available, allowing economic activities in the country to continue. - GMANews.TV

Bangko Sentral aims to improve local fiscal policies

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has issued landmark guidelines formalizing electronic money transactions, reportedly the first of its kind of electronic innovation in the world.

The new rules set a maximum monthly load limit of P100,000 ($2,068) on any e-money instrument such as cash cards, e-wallets and similar products.

The Anti-Money Laundering Law will also cover e-money transactions.

Meanwhile, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas otherwise hosted the National Course on Macroeconomic Management and Financial Sector Issues, conducted by International Monetary Fund-Singapore Regional Training Institute (IMF-STI), for executives from NEDA, Dept. of Budget and Management, Bureau of Treasury, Dept. of Finance, and the BSP. The annual program sponsored by the governments of Japan and Singapore cascades real-world issues to government officials to support efficient implementation of macroeconomic and financial policies.

Such program aims at strengthening of our fiscal policies amid the impact of the global financial crisis.