Press Release
July 12, 2022


Pimentel urges Senate to investigate BSP for 'impractical' P1,000 polymer notes, hasty changes in the design of banknotes and coins.

Opposition Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has asked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to stop the issuance and the production of the P1,000 polymer banknotes amid mounting complaints about its practical use as a legal tender.

At the same time, Pimentel has filed a resolution urging the Senate to conduct a legislative inquiry on BSP's inclination to constantly change banknotes and coins at the expense of Filipino taxpayers.

Pimentel said the BSP's decision to use polymer instead of the indigenous abaca (also known as Manila hemp) in its new P1,000 bills is not only detrimental to the livelihood of local abaca producers but is also very impractical to many Filipinos who are used to storing their bills on their pockets, purses, or their trifold wallets.

"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. The BSP should suspend the production of these banknotes ASAP," Pimentel said.

Pimentel said that while polymers are supposed to be sturdier than abaca, it does not have the needed flexibility to allow people to safely store their bills in their pockets, purses, money clips, or even small wallets. Polymers are also very sensitive to chemicals.

Pimentel also expressed concern that the replacement of the abaca as a material for producing the P1,000 banknotes could impact negatively on the country's US$ 97.1 million per year (from the exports of abaca fiber and manufactures) abaca industry.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the Philippines dominates the global abaca trade as the country supplies about 87.5 percent of the world's abaca fiber requirements, and Ecuador and Costa Rica the remaining 12.5 percent as of 2016. In 2016, abaca was planted on 180,302 hectares (ha) with production reaching 72,000 metric tons (MT).

Pimentel also questioned BSP's "rather arbitrary and hasty changes in our monetary design for the purpose of crafting legislation on this matter."

In his resolution, Pimentel added that there is a need to find out the answers to the following questions whenever the BSP changes the design of our coins and notes:

1. Who else or what other agencies or offices are involved or consulted whenever a decision changing the monetary design of the Philippine Peso is made by the BSP?

2. How much is the cost to the Filipino taxpayers whenever banknotes and coinage designs are changed?

3. What were the problems encountered by the BSP when the New Design Series was demonetized?

4. Whether or not there have been complaints from the public?

5. What are the reasons behind the BSP's decision to change the current ₱1,000 banknote, said to be the most difficult to counterfeit, to be "improved" by the new ₱1,000 polymer note?

6. Whether or not the new ₱1,000 polymer note is truly a "limited series" considering that the BSP announced that around 500 million copies of this new polymer note, or five hundred billion pesos (₱500,000,000,000.00) in total worth, will be printed?

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