P20 coin : Embracing cheap

Monetary authorities are sticklers for accuracy and are a calculating bunch of number crunchers.

Even their official statements are highly nuanced, couched in technocrat-speak, almost crafted for  diplomats wary of upsetting host governments and foreign partners.

Their words are carefully measured as they impact markets, people’s expectations, and decisions.

Even when they -- or one of them – goof, the words come out softly, gently, benign with an analgesic effect – swift and soothing.          

Consider the weekend back-to-back Bangko Sentral statements that came with breath-taking quickness.

After casually announcing it was considering the proposed production of   P20 coins, the BSPl promptly clarified a statement made by a high-ranking official  and assured the public that an extensive and in-depth deliberation would be done regarding the proposal.

Monetary officials must have suddenly realized the tremendous psychological  impact on the public waking up one day to discover that their P20bill has been reduced to a mere loose change, barya, sensilyo  – coin.

In explaining (away?) its plan, the BSP said it was not “downsizing the P20 bill at all. Rather, it was only “rightsizing” it.

Yeah, right. Sure.

Senior assistant governor Dahlia D. Luna, head of the BSP’s Security Plant Complex, the unit that prints Philippine banknotes and mints coins, among other functions, earlier said her departmernt  has received an instruction from BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board  to render a design for this denomination.

Luna said the proposal was made under the current leadership based on a study by the University of the Philippines. She did not elaborate.

She said the P20 bill is the most used denomination among the banknotes because it is the smallest in terms of value.

In other words, consumers are now reckoning their purchaising decisions now in terms of P20.   

“Cost and designs for this proposed coin denomination is still being studied, she said, but stressed that BSP would also strengthen its coin recirculation program to maximize the benefits of using coins,” Luna said

She explained that while the production cost of coins is much higher than bills, for example a P20 bill cost  about P2 apiece while a P10 coins costs between P5 to P10, coins last in circulation much longer. “But what should be considered here is the life of the coin compared to a bill,” she said.

She said the P20 bill, for one, has a life of about six months to a year while coins can last up to 15 years.

She said the P20 coins would be released either by the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2020.

But in its subsequent  statement, the BSP said  it was in no rush to make and release the coin.

“A total systems study on the currency cycle” in the central bank was conducted recently by a team from the University of the Philippines. One of the recommendations is the replacement of the 20-Piso banknote with coin as it is the most used denomination for small-value transactions, causing it to be easily unfit and returned to the BSP for replacement,” it saidit said.

The BSP said that on the back of this recommendation, the central bank would ensure that the coins to be mint are studied carefully.

“As with previous currency issuances and enhancements, the design, security features, and specifications of the 20-Piso coin shall be a result of an extensive and in-depth deliberation by the BSP’s Committee on Currency Design and Enhancements,” it said.

“The Committee’s proposal shall be submitted to the Monetary Board and then recommended for final approval of the President of the Philippines,” it added.  

Asked for the cost and release date of the proposed P20 coin, BSP Gov. Benjamin E. Diokno said “that’s still under deliberation by the Monetary Board”.

Most people put a a high price, a  premium on symbols of national identity and pride. Some embrace cost-effectiveness as a virtue.

Cheap -- the new way to go?

***

Counterfeiters never sleep.

Apparently, there are gazillions of moolah  to be made from making fake currency.

And so monetary authorities have to stay so many steps ahead of  syndicates churning out bogus  bills.

Come to think of  it: Even the US Federal  Reserve  has to be on constant  watch  against   counterfeit greenbacks.

And so local monetary  authorities cannot afford to le their guard own against home-grown  funny money makers.

But the BSP, the exclusive, official  printer and  issuer of the country’s legal tender, does not think the caper is funny at all.

And so it mounts a serial modification of  notes it churns out to keep the integrity of  the peso intact.            

The BSP  has thus renewed its  advisory  to the public to carefully check their  banknotes for identifiable security features to ascertain their genuineness.

Since 2010, the BSP has arrested and filed criminal cases against 133 counterfeiters in coordination with other law enforcement agencies.

This led to the confiscation of various counterfeit currencies, i.e. Iraqi Dinar, Japanese Yen, Malaysian Ringgit, US Dollar, and several equipment and paraphernalia used for counterfeiting.

The New Generation Currency banknote series, which bear the names and siantures of Diokno and President Duterte and now  in circulation, has the latest technology security features that are easily identifiable and difficult to counterfeit. The BSP advises the public to carefully feel, look and tilt their banknotes to check for these security features.

Beholds God’s glory and seek His mercy.

Pause and pray, people