Senator Pimentel wants BSP to stop making new PHP1000 bills, urges Senate probe into ‘hasty’ design changes

Given the hullabaloo surrounding the new PHP1000 polymer banknote, opposition senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he wants the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP; Central Bank of the Philippines) to stop the issuance and production of the new bill.

Calling the polymer replacement “absolutely absurd,” the senator stressed that BSP should think twice before continuing production on the new bill amid growing complaints about its practical use.

“The issuance of these polymer bills to replace our old banknotes is absolutely absurd. Our bills should be designed in such a way that they can withstand a minimum amount of abuse like crumpling and folding. Parang gusto pa yata nila ilagay sa frame ‘yung bills para kunwari matibay (It’s as if they want people to put the bills in a frame). The BSP should suspend the production of these banknotes ASAP,” Pimentel said in a statement.

The central bank received the ire of social media after a post alleged that a mall’s retail establishment did not accept the PHP1000 bill as payment because it was folded in half.

READ: BSP backtracks, says new PHP1000 polymer bills can be folded after social media backlash

The mall chain, SM Supermalls, released a statement assuring the public that they could pay with folded bills in their establishments but stressed that mutilated banknotes, such as those that had been stapled and ripped from the removal of staple wire, would not be accepted.

The senator also questioned the BSP’s decision to use polymer instead of abaca fiber for the new notes, saying that it was detrimental to the country’s abaca industry.

Local officials in Catanduanes had already voiced their opposition to the shift from abaca to polymer banknotes, claiming that the shift may displace 90 percent of abaca farmers in the province, which makes up about 30 percent of the country’s overall abaca industry.

Pimentel said that he has filed a resolution urging a Senate probe into the BSP’s “hasty changes” in the design of banknotes and coins, as these were done at the expense of taxpayers.

READ: Transport secretary says he’s ‘willing to’ try public transport to understand commuter woes

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