BSP issues new warning against 'improper handling' of PH banknotes and coins

By Lee Chipongian

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has issued fresh warning against malicious actions or misdeeds that destroys banknotes and coins, or the country’s currency, and is reminding the public that such is a punishable offense.

A logo of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is seen at their headquarters in Manila, (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN) A logo of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is seen at their headquarters in Manila, (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)GKO SENTRAL

“The BSP warns the public that the willful defacement, mutilation, tearing, burning or destruction of Philippine banknotes and coins are punishable by a fine of not more than P20,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than five years,” the central bank said in a statement.

The BSP is vested with police authority to investigate, make arrests, and conduct searches and seizures in accordance with law, for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the currency.

Jail time is prescribed under Presidential Decree No. 247 which also states that “banknotes and coins are issued for circulation as medium of exchange and to utilize them for other purposes does not speak well of the due respect and dignity befitting our currency.”

The BSP prohibited acts of defacement and/or mutilation of Philippine currency includes the following:

  • writing or putting marks on banknotes;
  • willful tearing, burning, or destruction, in any manner, of Philippine currency;
  • willful and excessive folding or crumpling that results in a breakdown of the structure and limpness of the banknote;
  • willfully causing multiple random folds across the entire banknote that toughly affect its visual appearance; and
  • willfully exposing banknotes or coins to chemicals or other materials resulting in the acceleration of the defacement, destruction, or natural wear and tear of the note or coin.
In addition, the BSP is strongly discouraging the public from other improper ways of handling banknotes such as using staple, or use adhesives on banknotes and coins as these “will compromise their structural integrity.”

“The BSP encourages the public to report any information on improper handling of Philippine currency to the nearest police station or law enforcement agency, for appropriate action, or contact the Currency Management Sector for assistance at Tel. Nos. 988-4833 and 926-5092,” the advisory said.

In July of last year, the BSP has started working with the National Bureau of Investigation to prevent banknotes and coins’ improper handling on social media, including the posting of fictitious currencies.

Since 2017, the BSP’s fight against offenders defacing local money has been escalating following reports of Philippine currencies being mutilated and burned on social media.