Press Release
December 11, 2014

Coin Hoarding: Piggy banks and legitimate businesses exempt - Osmeña

Sen. Serge Osmeña today clarified that the bill seeking to criminalize coin hoarding does not cover 'piggy bank' savings and businesses using coins to operate, like vending machines and 'piso' nets.

Osmeña said Senate Bill No. 2452, or the proposed 'Anti-Hoarding of Philippine Legal Tender Coins Act", will not penalize individuals who save coins in 'piggy banks', jars, drawers and wallets.

"People who save their coins and place them in piggy banks or 'alkansya' will not be jailed because the volume is so small," Osmeña explained, stressing that "the measure targets large-scale hoarders who sell the coins abroad to be melted down because the intrinsic value of the metal is more than the face value of the coin.

Also, contrary to concerns raised by small and medium entrepreneurs, the bill exempts retail businesses that use coins to operate, like Automatic Tubig Machines, 'Piso Nets', vending machines, video karera machines and other kinds of amusement machines.

Charitable institutions, private banks, banking and financial institutions of the government, and government agencies and instrumentalities which keep coins in connection with their business functions or official duties are likewise not covered by the proposed measure.

Osmeña said SBN 2452 will penalize individuals or groups engaged in the large-scale hoarding and exportation of coins, which syndicates smelt and convert the coins for use as raw materials for mobile phones, computers or other industrial applications.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will formulate the rules and guidelines to implement the measure and determine the aggregate value, number of pieces and weight which would constitute as hoarding of coins.

All Philippine coins are made of various alloys of copper, brass, nickel, aluminum or steel. The rising values of such metals has encouraged syndicates to hoard and export coins, leading to a coin shortage, which the BSP said started in 2004.

The senator noted that despite efforts by the BSP to stop the illegal activity and to promote public awareness to stress the importance of coins and to encourage their use as a medium of exchange, "the coin shortage continues."

"We have to stop illegal coin hoarding so we can promote and maintain price stability of our coins. We have been experiencing coin shortage for years now and if this continues, it would result in a wider-reaching negative impact on the economy," Osmena warned.

He stressed that "it would cost the government a substantial outlay of funds to replace the coins in circulation."

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