THE CENTRAL BANK is pushing for tighter laws against currency counterfeiting and coin hoarding.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said the central bank is currently drafting proposals to increase the length of imprisonment for faking banknotes in hopes of deterring counterfeiting and to define coin hoarding as a crime.

“Our proposal for stiffer penalties will take into consideration the current economic landscape as well as advancements in printing technologies,” Mr. Diokno said at an online briefing on Thursday.

Under current laws, proven counterfeiting of Philippine currency will result in a jail sentence of at least 12 years and a day, and a maximum fine of P2 million. Meanwhile, there are no laws about coin hoarding.

Mr. Diokno noted they carried out 110 law enforcement operations from 2010 to 2021 where they seized 12,400 fake banknotes with a notional value of P7.8 million.

They were also able to seize 14,300 counterfeit dollar bank notes with a notional value exceeding $92 million over the same period.

For 2021 alone, documented counterfeit notes rose by 7% year on year to 39,500, said Eloisa T. Glindro, director at the BSP’s Currency Policy and Integrity Department.

Mr. Diokno noted the central bank also took part in seizing P50-million coins in 2021. The money was seized “due to unexplained accumulation, and possible connection with illegal activities,” he said.

The BSP has recently issued an advisory reminding the public on how to handle counterfeit banknotes and check the authenticity of their money, Mr. Diokno said, noting it was in response to questions and reports coursed by netizens to the BSP through social media.

“While this is not a widespread problem in terms of our official complaint mechanism, we are responding to netizen concerns and taking the opportunity to remind the public and how to check for the genuineness of banknotes and to report to the banks at the soonest possible times should they encounter counterfeit banknotes,” Mr. Diokno said.

He said banks will be held accountable if proven they failed to observe measures to protect their clients. — LWTN