POSTSCRIPT / December 27, 2015 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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Paper bills sans Noy name demonetized

AFTER Dec. 31, 2015, or just four days from now, all banknotes not bearing the signature of President Benigno S. Aquino III will be demonetized — although his signature is not the only determinant of whether a paper bill is current or not.

The demonetization means that paper money printed before the adoption of the “New Generation Currency” (NGC) design of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will cease to be legal tender or acceptable as payment for goods and services.

Holders of demonetized bills can no longer spend them after Dec. 31, but they still have until Dec. 31, 2016, to take them to the bank for replacement with new paper money bearing the Aquino signature and new security features.

The changeover reminds us of the days after the 1986 EDSA Revolt when crates upon crates of “Bagong Lipunan” currency were reportedly hijacked. The odd thing was that the old Marcos bills could have been demonetized to render stolen or illicitly-held cash useless — but were not.

With the coming demonetization this weekend, hoarded billions prepositioned by candidates and their financiers for the 2016 national elections have been or will be flushed out ahead of schedule for conversion to the NGC banknotes at full face value without charges.

As early as December last year, the Bangko Sentral announced the demonetization after Dec. 31, 2015, of the old banknotes (New Design Series or NDS) under Monetary Board Resolution No. 1939. But it seems not many people heeded the notice.

Under the New Central Bank Act (RA 7653), the BSP is authorized to replace banknotes that are more than five years old. The old NDS banknotes have been in use since 1985, or for almost three decades now.

As of last Sept. 30, banknotes of various denominations in circulation number 2.7 billion pieces with an aggregate face value of P790 billion. The old banknote series comprises 15 percent of the total number of pieces, worth P67 billion or 8.5 percent of total value of banknotes circulating.

How to change old bills with new

GOVERNMENT agencies holding in trust old bills that cannot be exchanged immediately, such as banknotes used as evidence in litigation, have to request the BSP in writing for a special exchange arrangement.

Overseas Filipinos who have good reason for being unable to change their old bills within the prescribed period may register online from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016, through the BSP website. Their old NDS banknotes may be exchanged within one year from date of registration.

The new-generation series was launched way back on Dec. 16, 2010. During the first months of Aquino’s term, the BSP was still printing the old design series. It used the leftover inventory of security paper for the old series so the stock would not go to waste.

That explains why the signature of President Aquino is also in some of the old-design notes and in all of the new series printed starting in 2010. Some of the old bills to be retired after Dec. 31 carry his signature.

But all paper bills to be considered legal tender starting Jan. 1, 2016, will carry his signature. That detail, however, is not the only determinant of whether a banknote is current or not. Among the other visual design differences are:

• The new generation currency (NGC) has the seal of the Republic above the signature of President Aquino and the blue circular BSP logo above the signature of BSP Gov. Amando M. Tetangco Jr.

• The digits in the serial numbers of the NGC are not uniform in size but get bigger as the numbers are completed.

• On the lower right corner on the NGC there is a seemingly broken wave which, when viewed against the light, becomes a unified continuous line in the ancient Filipino alphabet that means “Pilipino”.

• The obverse side of the NGC features famous scenic attractions: Banaue rice terraces for P20s with civet cat, Taal volcano with maliputo for P50 bills, Mayon volcano and butanding for P100s, Bohol’s Chocolate hills with tarsier for P200s, Palawan underground river with parrot for P500s, and Tubbataha reef and South Sea pearl for P1,000s.

Remollo returning as Dumaguete mayor

WE BUMPED days ago into top corporate lawyer Felipe “Ping” Remollo, who in his short stint (2011-2012) as president/CEO of Clark Development Corp. lured the taipans to the Clark Freeport in Pampanga, generating 80,000 jobs and enhancing relations with officials of contiguous towns and cities.

With the potential of his home city of Dumaguete, we think that that vibrant Negros Oriental hub is fortunate that Remollo is again running for mayor to pursue the master plan he launched when he first became city executive in 1998. We can see investors following him to Dumaguete.

Running with a full Liberal Party slate for vice mayor and councilors, he is excited about pursuing his updated blueprint to create “a livable, environmentally/ pedestrian friendly, and crime-free city consistent with its being a university town and a retirement haven”. Remollo’s plan includes:

1. Addressing traffic congestion by opening new growth areas (e.g. government center, satellite economic zones and barangay sports facilities) and more roads including circumferential highways, transforming crowded streets into pedestrian walkways, and establishing parks/plazas and parking areas.

2. Bringing in light manufacturing and industrial firms to generate revenue and provide employment.

3. Closing the open dump site and putting up a sanitary landfill outside the city.

4. Establishing north and south integrated bus and jeepney depots, as well as fish ports and a marina.

5. Fully computerizing and automating business processes such as for permits and licenses.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 27, 2015)

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