Government expected to print more polymer P500, P100 banknotes

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government is expected to circulate more polymer banknotes in P500 and P100 denominations, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

He said President Marcos has already approved the design of new polymer P500 and P100 banknotes.

Diokno served as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor during the Duterte administration when the government started circulating the P1,000 plastic-based bills in April 2022.

“There’s already a design for that which was also approved by the Monetary Board,” Diokno told reporters.

“It’s just a matter of printing but I’m not sure if it’s within the year,” he said.

Current BSP Governor Felipe Medalla has yet to announce anything on the new round of polymer banknotes.

Diokno also did not disclose the exact details of the P500 and P100 banknotes but it is expected that new circulation will stick to its “flora and fauna” series.

He added that the new banknotes are also likely to be printed by Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australia’s central bank, which also printed the P1,000 polymer banknotes.

Last week, the P1,000 polymer banknote won the International Banknote Society’s “Banknote of the Year Award” for 2022, winning over finalists from Algeria, Barbados, Egypt, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The design of the P1,000 polymer banknote features the Philippine eagle and the sampaguita on the obverse side and the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, South Sea Pearl, and T’nalak weave design on the reverse side.

Polymer banknotes are said to be less susceptible to viral and bacterial transmission due to their smooth and non-absorptive surfaces.

They have also been found to last 2.5 to four times longer than paper money, more than offsetting the initial increase in production cost.

Based on the experiences of other central banks, expenses on banknote issuance could be reduced by 40 percent to 60 percent. Polymer banknotes also have a smaller carbon footprint and lower water and energy usage.

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