The central bank has confiscated some P480,000 worth of counterfeit banknotes in the first nine months of this year, bringing to P7.69 million the amount of all seized fake money in the last 10 years.
From January to September, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has seized 500 pieces of counterfeit banknotes. In the last 10 years, about 12,000 pieces of fake bills have been taken from criminals.
The BSP has also seized 200 pieces of counterfeit foreign banknotes but it did not disclose the currency or notional value. Since 2011, some 14,300 pieces of counterfeit US dollar bills and other foreign currencies worth a combined $92.59 million have been confiscated by the BSP.
In the first nine months of 2021, the BSP’s Payments and Currency Investigations Group conducted seven enforcement operations and arrested 16 suspects, of which 14 belong to crime syndicates.
The BSP said it has already filed criminal cases against the 16 suspects in the courts. “The BSP continues to protect and promote the integrity of the Philippine banknotes and coins through sustained efforts against the counterfeiting of currency,” it said in a statement on Monday, Nov. 1.
In the last 10 years, the BSP has apprehended 176 money counterfeiters in total. Of this number, 127 were members of a criminal syndicate while the remaining 48 were found to have acted on their own, said the BSP.
So far, the BSP’s anti-counterfeiting operations have filed 161 criminal cases in courts. “Out of these cases, 63 have been concluded while 98 are still ongoing. Of the concluded cases, 62 resulted in a conviction. This translates to a 98.41 percent conviction rate from 2010 to 2021,” noted the BSP.
Under Republic Act No. 10951, individuals producing fake Philippine currency face imprisonment of at least 12 years and one day, and a fine not exceeding P2 million.
The BSP continues to assure and also to remind the public that the New Generation Currency or NGC banknotes – first introduced in 2010 — currently in circulation has advanced security features against counterfeiting.
“The BSP encourages the public to report any information on currency counterfeiting to the nearest police station or law enforcement agency, for appropriate action, or contact the BSP Payments and Currency Management Sector for assistance at Tel. Nos. (02) 8988-4833 and (02) 8926-5092,” said the BSP in an advisory.
In September 2020, the BSP strengthened the security features of the 500-piso and 1000-piso by adding a rolling bar effect on the value panels and color-shifting in the Optically Variable Ink to make the higher denominations more difficult to counterfeit. The enhanced NGC series also feature indigenous Filipino weaves on the windowed security thread of the 100-piso, 200-piso, 500-piso and 1000-piso banknotes.
Both the enhanced NGC and the earlier version are both circulated but the earlier version does not have the new security features. The BSP said previously that the two versions will co-exist until the earlier banknotes are withdrawn from circulation due to wear and tear.
By 2023, the BSP’s cash distribution centers around the country will be releasing only the enhanced NGC version.