Officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Mindanao Regional Office urged the public Monday to treat the new polymer banknote with care, as simply stapling it can be considered as “intended mutilation” punishable by law.
“Those who are accustomed to stapling banknotes, the polymer ones should not be stapled. Unlike the paper banknote, you can take the staples out, and it will just leave holes (but the polymer ones will rip,” said Dorothy Joy Diaz, BSP Mindanao Regional Office bank officer.
She added: “If it rips, then it is a mutilated banknote. Violators can be charged under the Presidential Decree 247.”
Presidential Decree 247 or the Central Bank Act states that willful defacement, mutilation, ripping, burning or destruction of Philippine banknotes and coins is illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of not more than PHP20,000.
“If it is not intended, that is fine, but if done willfully, as you did it out of curiosity, that is punishable,” Diaz said.
BSP officials said folded banknotes are unfit for circulation. Although it can still be accepted, they suggest depositing or having it exchanged in the bank.
“It is time for us to discipline ourselves,” said Hermogenes Buenaflor Jr., bank officer of the BSP in the Davao Region, said.
Secure, safe, strong
The BSP said the new polymer banknote, which started circulation in April 2022, is a response to the pressing public health and safety concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The note is supposedly less susceptible to viral and bacterial transmission, and can be sanitized without damaging the bills.
“(However), it does not mean that it should be washed regularly. Like any other, it will be destroyed,” Diaz said.
The Department of Health found that in temperatures typical of tropical climates, viruses, and bacteria survive for shorter periods on polymer compared to paper banknotes.
Diaz also said the polymer material enabled the BSP to incorporate more security features that make it “more difficult and costly” for counterfeiters.
According to the BSP, polymer banknotes last longer than paper banknotes.
“Some countries have reported that polymer banknotes last at least 2.5 times longer than paper banknotes, given their resistance to water, oil, dirt, and general wear and tear,” it said.
While the new design generated positive responses from the public, others expressed their concern about the old design which features three of the country's national heroes.
“There is no advice to demonetize. It is an additional design, and it will not replace the old design,” Diaz said.
The polymer PHP1,000 peso bill features the Philippine Eagle, and also the Sampaguita flower image embossed on the front side, with five highly-embossed dots for visually impaired individuals.
The vertical clear window bears the seal of the Republic of the Philippines and the BSP logo.
The new polymer banknote also features the image of the South Sea Pearl, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, and T’nalak weave design at the back.
Source: Philippines News Agency