The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) advised the public to exchange or deposit “unfit” coins as part of its campaign to promote and improve its use and circulation.
“Proper handling of coins helps maintain their structural integrity, which also promotes vigilance against their unlawful use,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said Wednesday, March 23.
Coins considered unfit are those that are bent or twisted out of shape, defaced, corroded, and its weight reduced due to wear and tear.
The BSP said the public may exchange or deposit unfit coins while coins of doubtful authenticity may be surrendered to banks for BSP inspection. If deemed unfit, said coins will be withdrawn from general circulation, it added.
The BSP has a Clean Note and Coin Policy and a Coin Recirculation Program. Part of its regular advisory is to remind the public that “willful defacement, mutilation, burning, or destruction of coins may be subject to imprisonment of up to five years” plus a fine of P20,000.
“Since the production and continuous circulation of fit and high-quality coins are a public investment, all are enjoined to use coins, whenever appropriate, to pay for goods and services; exchange or deposit unused coins in banks instead of keeping them in storage; and maintain the cleanliness of coins,” said the BSP.
Last January, the BSP said it is proposing to impose a more rigid package of penalties and sanctions against currency counterfeiting and to criminalize the stockpiling of large amounts of coins.
The BSP has been calling for a strong law that will penalize coin hoarding in the country. In the absence of a law, the BSP utilizes its Coin Recirculation Program to encourage the public to refrain from unnecessarily accumulating coins.
Coin hoarding results in the inefficient circulation of coins and prevents their primary use as medium of exchange, said the BSP.
An artificial shortage of coins may also occur because of the common practice of keeping coins idle in bank vaults, drawers and piggy banks instead of re-circulating them.
As of June 2021, there are 36 billion pieces of coins in circulation valued at P49.7 billion, based on BSP data.
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