BSP warns public on illegal use of Philippine coins
By Miriam P. Aquino
San Fernando City, La Union (17 November) -- Former Press Secretary now one of the officers of the Monetary Board, writes about Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) issuance of an advisory warning the public on the illegal use of the Philippine coin and at the same time urging the people to report anybody involved in such unlikely activity that involves defacement, mutilation and smuggling of the coin which is considered a criminal offense and a violation of Presidential Decree 247 and BSP Circular 98, that is punishable by up to five years imprisonment with a fine of P20,000.
According to Bunye, a Senior BSP currency specialist reported that through the years, there have been various offenses committed against the Philippine coin which includes melting the 25-centavo coin to be combined with other metal components that make sinks more durable.
With the help of the law enforcement agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the problem was addressed and some of its perpetrators now face charges before the courts.
Another illicit activity is the defacement and mutilation of our own coins to avoid detection at our local ports and smuggling them into some Asian countries to be used as tokens, computer parts or even bullets and Bunye said that just a few months ago, BSP currency specialists reported that they together with the NBI agents have intercepted some 17.9 tons of P1 coin about to be shipped to Korea.
This activity is even seen in our local mall amusement areas and casinos where the coin is used as token - also an illegal activity which might cause currency shortage due to non-circulation.
The BSP explains that the Philippine coin should be used for its purpose and should be handled with respect because "apart from or more than its being a metal used to buy our daily needs, it also represents our country and what we have experienced as people." (PIA La Union) [top]