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Opinion

Out with the old

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

The Central Bank of the Philippines is reminding everyone that starting January 31, 2016, the old series of our currency will no longer be accepted as legal tender. This would be the series of bills issued in 1985, where the serial numbers are all equal in size. The old series also has the five and ten peso bill which the new series no longer has. The new serial numbers increase in size aside from other new features. Those who still have the old bills will have to exchange them at the Central Bank or authorized local banks for the same value. So if you are the kind of person who stores a lot of cash at home or elsewhere, I suggest you dig them out and exchange or deposit them at your respective banks. By January 2017, the old series will be completely demonetized. You just might wake up one day and realize all the money you buried in your backyard is worthless.

The Central Bank knows the Filipino very well. Many tend to do everything at the last minute. Many also claim ignorance of the announcement, whether real or not. I wouldn't be surprised if people start complaining as to why their money is no longer being accepted at stores after January 31, 2016. I suggest an intensive information campaign by January to specifically address this bad trait.

The Central Bank has also issued warnings about the proliferation of counterfeit money. 'Tis the season for spending, which is why counterfeiters seize the opportunity to spread fake bills, by outright using them for payment or mixing them up with real ones. Complacent cashiers or those accepting payment may assume that all money is real. Businesses are encouraged to train their cashiers into spotting counterfeits, aside from the using the different devices available to them. There is a correct look and feel of real money that counterfeiters cannot duplicate.

As for the new series, there are still those who mistake the 100 and 1000 peso bills. The error stems from the color being too similar. To a lesser degree, the same can be said about the 20 and 50 peso bills. If the Central Bank plans to address this issue is still unknown. With the large numbers printed on the new series, people should not have to be confused about the denominations. Still, it is always prudent to be certain about what you are handing out or receiving. Not everyone is honest when it comes to money.

As a comparison, the US dollar is only available in one color for all its denominations. I really don't hear anyone complaining about that. And the government has never demonetized any of its currency since its inception. This means that money issued in the 1700s is still legal tender today. Of course, the collector's value has gone up, and one would be foolish to spend old coins today, with some worth up to thousands of dollars. Anyone watching several reality TV shows available today would know that.

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