MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is continuing to ramp up efforts to prevent the circulation of counterfeit bills.
As part of the central bank’s proactive currency management, deputy governor Diwa Gunigundo said the BSP is coordinating closely with the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation in detecting counterfeiting activities.
Gunigundo also said the BSP has its own Cash Investigation Division and Currency Analysis and Research Division to implement anti-counterfeiting measures.
These departments also determine if the currency is unfit for circulation.
“Sila ang nagsasabi how to detect counterfeit at kung nasunog ang pera mo, dapat three-fifths ang matitira. Hindi dapat mawawala ‘yung pirma ng president at governor at ‘yung one of the two serial numbers should be there. Kapag masyadong na-fold, hindi na tatanggapin ‘yan,” he said.
The BSP is also supporting legislative initiative towards stiffer penalty for counterfeit, which is a bailable offense.
“Counterfeiting should be considered as a very serious crime kasi integrity ng currency ng Republic is at stake,” said Gunigundo.
Periodic tests of the BSP’s Automated Banknote Processing Machines are also conducted to ensure that the machines are “always sensitive to banknotes that are suspected to be counterfeit.”
According to BSP data, there has been improvement in detecting counterfeit bills attributed to the public information campaigns.
In 2013, 6,037 fake banknotes were seized, compared to only 1,879 banknotes in 2012.
From January to March 2014, an estimated 4.6 million counterfeit bills are in circulation, down from 5.4 million seen in the same period last year.
BSP said in one million notes in Philippine circulation, 19 pieces are counterfeit, comparable to 223 counterfeit pieces per one million in the United Kingdom and 100 pieces per one million in the United States.
“We have advised the general public on how to detect counterfeit even without the use of special equipment,” said Gunigundo.
The BSP has also given tips and tricks on how to spot fake bills using the naked eye.
Gunigundo added that as part of its currency management, BSP will require banks to accept mutilated banknotes from the public for exchange to the BSP, clarify what constitutes unfit and mutilated currency, and advise banks and public on the pre-requisites for currency redemption.
He also said that the BSP will launch a Cash Management Center in Quezon City this year to enhance cash management services being offered to banks.
The new services, which will be implemented through a new operating technology, will include the acceptance of unsorted and un-oriented banknote deposits for a fee, the extension of operating time to accept deposits and service withdrawals, and improvement of the turn-around time of cash verification.
BSP will also offer the option to withdraw banknotes in cassette-ready form, and introduce bar-coded strip seal packaging for cash deposits.