BSP’s new coin plan to result in more defective coins, group says PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 June 2015 08:50

By NONOY E LACSON

ZAMBOANGA CITY — A consumer group on Friday warned the public to brace for the increase in the number of worn and damaged coins because of the adamant plan of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to adopt an inferior technology in coin production, which the group describes highly suspicious.

The Union of Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) said at present, worn one-peso coins that are only a few years old are already being found in increasing numbers and their appearance are so bad that many people are rejecting them as legal tender, which could result in a serious coin shortage.

“We are really surprised by the insistence of the BSP to use the multi-ply coin plating technology for its New Generation Currency program despite its inferior quality products,” according to UFCC convenor Rodolfo “RJ” Javellana.

“If what we hear is true, this is apparently already a done deal with a favored supplier that is being represented in the Philippines by SinoPhil Greater Resources, a company with a dubious record in handling government procurement projects,” Javellana said.

Javellana provided to newsmen a photo of some of the worn one-peso coins that were made using multi-ply technology as an example of how inferior multi-ply is.

“These coins appear rusty or corroded with a red and brown discoloration, and they are only seen on piso coins dated 2007 to 2014, the most recent coins minted and issued by the BSP according to our sources,” Javellana said.

“As can be seen in the photograph, the defect is most prominent on the edges of the coin and high points of the design such as the text and portrait of national hero Jose Rizal,” he added.

He said that according to their sources from the BSP, this defective problem is not a result of misuse but due to the low quality of materials used.

“According to our sources, these are produced from multi-ply and dual-ply plated steel. Both technologies have a very thin outer layer that quickly wears away and similar widespread durability problems with multi-ply and dual-ply coins have also been found in Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia and Mauritania,” the UFCC convenor added.

He said the worn and damaged coins are in stark contrast to the older 2004 dated coins that were produced using mono-ply plated steel, which has a very thick outer layer, resulting in better durability and higher quality coins that stay in circulation much longer without any issues.

According to a recent BSP statement, the BSP will soon issue a new coin series to replace all existing coins in circulation, and that it is leaning towards multi-ply plated steel.

“Strong and credible intelligence from within the industry and insiders at the BSP consistently conclude that it is an inevitable, foregone conclusion that the new coin series will be multi-ply,” Javellana said.

“This is suspicious on many levels as not only are multi-ply coins clearly inferior in terms of quality and durability, but also it is a patented product. The Royal Canadian Mint holds the patent and the multi-ply product is only available from them and their ‘strategic partner,” US based Jarden Zinc.

“The BSP clearly faces a dangerous monopoly situation and it will be very vulnerable to the inevitable inflated prices and limited supply availability, which makes us think that there is a hidden agenda in its insistence on multi-ply,” Javellana said. — Nonoy E Lacson