MANILA, Philippines - The old is (almost) gone and the new has come.
On Friday, President Aquino and officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas unveiled the look and security features of the new generation Philippine peso bills.
The new bills are packed with security features that counterfeiters would find difficult to copy, the BSP officials said. They also feature Philippine icons like the tarsier, Banaue Rice Terraces, Taal and Mayon volcanoes, among others.
The release of the new generation peso bills was made in time for Christmas, the BSP said.
New look, new security features
The bills feature the seals of the Republic of the Philippines and the central bank. They also have a patch where the colors change from blue to green and back to blue at a 45-degree angle.
The P500 has a photo inset where the face of the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., father of President Benigno Aquino III, appears. At a different angle, the photo changes to 500.
The bills also have micro prints and security threads that will make it more difficult for counterfeiters to copy. The 200-peso, 500-peso and 1,000-peso bills have a 4-mm security thread embedded on the paper.
They also have a security feature for the vision-impaired as the numerical amount is embossed on the bill.
The new bills are made up of 80% cotton and 20% abaca. They have anti-bacterial quality that can last up to more than 3 years for higher-denominated bills.
When asked why there is a need for the new bills, BSP deputy governor Diwa Gunigundo said one of the main reasons is that counterfeiters have already almost perfected the current bills, though the incidents have remained manageable.
The designers of the bills are Design Systemat and Studio 5. The 2 groups collaborated in the reverse and obverse side of the money bills.
Out before yearend
BSP spokesperson Fe Dela Cruz said the central bank is already in the process of allocating the new currencies among banks, and these will be released to the public next week.
"Uunahin muna namin yun low denominations na P20 and P50 dahil 'yun din ang hinahanap ng marami pag pasko na pambigay ng Aguinaldo, but the other denominations will follow, by the first week of January lahat ng denominations available na," Dela Cruz said.
The BSP will circulate P45 million to P50 million worth of bills before the year ends and another P2 billion next year.
She added people may go to any bank to exchange old money for the new notes, and it will be up to the bank if it would set a limit to the amount. Another option is to call the bank first and make a reservation for the new notes.
The BSP official noted they are happy with the positive feedback on the new currencies but she appealed to the public not to keep the new notes as a souvenirs.
"Kung makakuha kayo nung bagong currency wag niyo ho sana ubusin lahat agad para marami rin ang magkakaron ng chance na makakuha nito, iba naman na makatanggap huwag niyo sana itago lahat, kasi hindi yan magcicirculate," Dela Cruz said.
Current bills can still be used within the next 3 to 4 years before they are demonetized. But the BSP said people can still exchange their old bills even after that period. - with reports from Sheryll Mundo and Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News