Longer wallets needed: Eyebrows raised over BSP guidelines for new polymer bills

June 27, 2022 - 4:46 PM
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These photos show the redesigned the P1,000 bank notes. (Facebook/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Incoming Governor Felipe Medalla‘s suggestions on how to properly handle the new P1,000 polymer banknote earned disapproval from Filipinos online.

These include excessively folding and crumpling the bill, actions which most Filipinos had long been doing as convenience when using and storing paper bills.

Medalla, former socio-economic planner, made these suggestions in an interview with One News PH on June 24.

“One thing to adjust is to have wallets or purses that prevent it from being totally folded. Dapat ang wallet singhaba ng pera para hindi i-fold,” he was quoted in a report as saying.

Medalla claimed this is much easier for women with handbags.

“Mas madali yan sa babae kasi may handbag kayo,” he was quoted in a report as saying.

BSP on June 13 also released a list of guidelines on how to properly handle the P1,000 polymer banknote on social media.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ guidelines on how to handle/use the P1,000 polymer banknotes (Facebook/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)

The following is the list of “do’s” in using the bill:

  1. Keep them flat.
  2. Keep them clean.
  3. Use them as payment for goods and services.

The following are the things you should not do when using the polymer-made money:

  1. DO NOT write or put marks on the banknote.
  2. DO NOT excessively fold or crumple the banknote.
  3. DO NOT cut, put holes, or staple them.
  4. DO NOT damage or remove any of its security features.
  5. DO NOT iron them.
  6. DO NOT expose the banknote to high temperatures or place it in an open flame.
  7. DO NOT expose the banknote to toxic chemicals.

Criticisms  

Some Filipinos perceived the suggestion of Medalla to get a longer wallet because the new banknote can’t handle too much creasing “absurd.”

“Longer wallets?! Ano to? Bibili na naman tayo sa Marithe Francois Girbaud?!” comedian James Caraan quipped.

“Meanwhile, in the province: rubber band > money clip/wallet,” another user said.

Comelec official James Jimenez also joined in and reacted to Medalla’s suggestions.

“This money don’t jiggle jiggle, it…apparently doesn’t fold either,” Jimenez tweeted.

He was referring to the TikTok dance trend that uses the song “Jiggle, Jiggle” by DJ duo Duke & Jones and award-winning British-American journalist Louis Theroux.

The line was supposed to go: “My money don’t jiggle, jiggle, it folds.”

Some Filipinos also noted the perceived “sexist undertone” of Medalla’s remarks.

“Me a woman and using a folded wallet for years,” one user said with a clown emoji.

“Ang saya nang may kasamang sexism just talking about a d*mn banknote!! I guess f*** every woman and anybody who doesn’t use handbags (i.e. me),” another user tweeted.

Other users, meanwhile, said that it would be better for them to not use the bill given how bills are normally treated or used.

“Huwang gastusin titigan na lang,” one Twitter user said.

“Wag nalang ipa-circulate kasi pag yun napunta sa palengke o sa PUV,” another user pointed out.

Some online users criticized BSP for asking the people to make adjustments for the perceived flimsy banknote.

“Everyone, the government just asked us to get longer wallets instead of making the banknote more durable,” one user tweeted.

BSP previously promoted the structure of the polymer version of the P1,000 bill as a stronger and environment-friendly version than the abaca-based paper money.

The BSP began circulating the P1,000 polymer bills in April 2022.

Other P1,000 paper banknotes are still in circulation.