Address Pinoys' hesitance on polymer bills with 'confidence-building' moves, BSP told

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) should implement more "confidence-building measures" on the use of P1,000 polymer bank notes, Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said Tuesday, Jan. 31.

A P1,000 polymer bill. (Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Barbers made this call even as he observed that small retailers continue to shun the polymer bills out of fear that the slightest crease or fold would render it useless.

"With P1,000 polymer bills becoming more commonly dispensed by ATMs (automated teller machines) the should seize the opportunity to carry out confidence-building measures among Filipinos on the use of such bills," Barbers said.

"Believe it or not, the polymer bills are still alien to many Filipinos and there's an urgent need to educate and more importantly, assure everyone that folded polymer bank notes are still valid legal tender," the Nacionalista Party (NP) stalwart and multi-term congressman stressed.

"There are still a lot of retailers, especially MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) that refuse to accept folded polymer notes out of fear that these are now damaged and invalid," he said.

Barbers said that while the central bank has stated back in July 2022 that folded polymer notes are perfectly acceptable, they should still assure both the consumer and trader moving forward that such remains the case.

According to the Mindanaoan, Filipinos' hesitance to use polymer bills--if left unaddressed--could leave a negative impact on the economy.

"The worst case scenario for me is for the country's GDP to take a hit if people will refuse to transact, purchase, accept, or trade with these notes for fear of damaging them with just a simple fold. For them, they'd rather stick to the more familiar paper bills. I blame that fear on the BSP, since the polymer bank notes have been out for months now," Barbers said.

"May I remind also the BSP that the whole point of using polymer over the old paper bank notes is that the former is supposedly more durable," he said.

Polymer bills will be more commonplace in the future, as the BSP is also planning to issue them in denominations of P500.