Consult other Central Banks on multi-ply coins, BSP urged PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 April 2015 13:58

By NONOY E LACSON

A consumer advocacy group yesterday urged the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to consult other Central Banks, especially from countries whose demography and environment are similar to the Philippines, to determine the most appropriate technology for the New Generation Currency coins it plans to issue in the Philippines.

Rodolfo “RJ” Javellana, convenor of the Union of Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFFC), said the BSP must get an unbiased and accurate understanding of the Multi-Ply product, the technology reportedly being considered by the BSP for the production of new coins.

“We are not experts ourselves, so we appeal to the BSP to consult and get the opinion of other Central Banks to ensure that we get durable and high quality coins,” Javellana said.

“Although BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo was reported as saying that the BSP is still conducting a very thorough review and no decision has been made with regards to the technology that will be used, we have multiple sources inside the BSP saying that the BSP has chosen multi-ply plated steel for its new generation coins,” Javellana said.

“Mr. Guinigundo also stated that the BSP has issued multi-ply coins in the past years, and our sources said he is referring to one-peso coins, particularly those dated 2012, 2013, and 2014,” he said.

“Our research shows that some of these multi-ply coins are already worn and deteriorated, showing a rusty red discoloration especially on the edge,” Javellana said, showing some samples of the coins. “Our BSP sources said this is because the thin outer layer of these coins had already worn away.”

Multi-ply coin is a technology patented by only one mint, which has licensed the technology to only one other producer which is its partner company in the US.

Guinigundo said the BSP will require any winning supplier to make their technology available to other suppliers “should their specific method be selected and recommended based on the finding by an independent, inter-departmental ad hoc technical working group”.

Industry sources, however, said this is unlikely to happen especially in the case of the multi-ply patent owner which has not issued or prepared any license to other producers except to its partner firm, not to mention the huge cost it would entail for other suppliers to adopt the technology.

The Philippines is one of the biggest markets in the world for coin blanks and the BSP forecasts a huge demand for coins over the next 10 years.

The UFFC earlier wrote the BSP to say that while it believes the BSP will take utmost care and conduct its business in the most transparent manner, “we are nevertheless appealing to your good office to ensure the adequate supply of durable and high quality coins because ordinary consumers and commuters will be the ones to bear the adverse effects of any shortage” that may arise from poor quality coins.

The group cited reports that presently, some jeepney drivers refuse to give exact change to commuters by claiming that they don’t have enough 25-centavo coins to be able to give the 50-centavo  change to passengers in minimum distance routes. — Nonoy E. Lacson