The Problem with Philippine Currency

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Written By Paolo
A passionate collector of sneakers, Funko Pops, and Displates. Paolo has been a sneakerhead since teenager and has built an impressive collection of rare and highly sought-after kicks.

If the Philippines had issued all the coin and banknote denominations purposely posted on social media, their current system would be confusing. There’s a ton of fake news circulating online about coins and banknotes from the Philippines. Yes, there are counterfeit banknotes and coins too. If someone is caught counterfeiting Philippine currency, they will be sentenced to a minimum of 12 years and one day and may also be fined up to 2 million pesos.


Ladies and gentlemen, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, also known as the Philippine Central Bank, is proposing to impose severe penalties for hoarding much-needed coins. However, as of the time of writing this article, the law is still in its proposal stage. If someone defaces, mutilates, burns, or destroys something, they can be imprisoned for five years and fined 20,000 pesos. The Philippines is currently facing a problem with coin shortages, which is attributed to hoarding. In 2021, the esteemed BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno announced the seizure of 50 million peso coins. This seizure was due to unexplained accumulation and a possible connection with illegal activities.


From October 2021 to September 2022, the central bank defaced 21 tons of counterfeit coins. This accounts for four percent of all the coinage that they defaced, either because it was unfit for circulation or because it had been demonetized. At the BSP, they destroy banknotes and coins deemed unfit, mutilated, demonetized, or counterfeit under Republic Act No. 7653, as amended by RA 11211. The latest fiasco involves a purported 150-peso banknote that features a vignette of Dr. Jose Rizal, which has been circulating on the internet.

On February 2nd, the BSP released a statement stating that the images of the banknote circulated on social media were not real. And social media hasn’t stopped there. Recently, there have been claims of new bank notes worth 150 pesos, 500 pesos, and 5,000 pesos, as well as a 100 peso coin. However, none of these exist. I would like to inform you that the official denominations of Philippine bank notes are 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 pesos. Please be informed that the coins they have in circulation are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 pesos, as well as 1, 5, 10, and 25 centimos.


One peso is equivalent to 100 sentimo. At the BSP Security Plant Complex, they primarily produce coins and banknotes. In response to the perplexing fictional currency scenario and the scarcity of physical cash, the central bank has reintroduced its Clean Note and Coin Policy, also known as Paleng-QR Ph Plus, and the Coin Recirculation Program. Additionally, they have launched the Piso Caravan, a currency exchange program to encourage digital payments and eliminate unsuitable coins from circulation. Their program’s mission is to allow you to easily exchange your old and worn-out currency for new banknotes, coins, and digital cash.


In January, they saw the start of a caravan carrying coins, bank notes, and digital cash in Tagbilaran City. The caravan then proceeded to Naga City in February. The immediate plans involve moving the caravan to Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. They’re also planning to have the caravan visit other cities such as Baguio, Davao, and Tagbilaran. In June 2022, Paleng-QR was initiated by the central bank and the Department of the Interior and Local Government. The aim is to reach out to vendors and tricycle drivers through digital platforms using QR technology.

Additionally, they aim to encourage account ownership by promoting using QR codes. The program involves Ph. E-money wallet providers G-Cash and Maya and cryptocurrency provider BSP has been assisting local governments in increasing digital payment acceptance. They aim to shift 50 percent of all payment transactions into digital form by 2023. As of end-2021, around 30.1 percent of transactions have already gone digital.

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