THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) launched the latest generation of banknotes equipped with heightened security features, distinction for better recognition and enhanced designs portraying indigenous culture.

Among the key features of the enhanced New Generation Currency (NGC) series are short horizontal lines to help distinguish the denominations, the BSP said. The NGC banknotes series now in circulation was first issued in December 2010.

“These banknotes are equipped with the latest anti-counterfeiting technology and embedded with tactile marks that will make it easier for the elderly and persons with disabilities to differentiate each denomination,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said in his speech at the online launch on Wednesday.

“The banknotes without the enhanced features will remain legal tender and shall co-exist with the enhanced banknotes,” the BSP said in a statement.

The BSP said the enhanced banknotes were set to be released to banks after yesterday’s launch.

Each bill has short horizontal bands engraved at the extreme right and left sides of the note. The P50 bill features one pair of marks; two pairs for the P100 bill; three pairs for the P200 bill; four pairs for the P500; and five pairs of the tactile mark for the P1,000 banknote.

“We added tactile marks to the banknotes specifically intended to help the elderly and visually impaired to quickly identify the value or denomination of the banknote,” Mr. Diokno said.

The P500 and the P1,000 bills will now feature a roller bar effect on their value panels, making counterfeiting of these denominations more difficult.

Other features of the enhanced bills include dynamic movement of design patterns as well as color-shifting inks.

The banknotes also feature indigenous Filipino weaves in the windowed security thread to showcase the country’s culture.

“The BSP is confident that, with these features, the public will benefit in terms of the banknote security, its ease of recognition and inclusivity,” BSP Senior Assistant Governor D. Luna said.

Mr. Diokno said central banks generally redesign or enhance their banknotes every 10 years on average to protect the integrity of their currencies. The BSP in December unveiled a P20 coin and an enhanced design for the P5 coin for easier distinction from the P10.

Despite the enhanced features of the bills, Mr. Diokno said the central bank did not see a significant uptick in the cost of producing the new bills.

“We estimate that there is an average increase of 1% in the cost of production,” Mr. Diokno said.

The central bank chief said cash remains the choice for some Filipinos when purchasing and paying for services despite a recent shift towards digital transactions amid the pandemic.

“It is equally our priority to ensure that banknotes and coins are accessible, recognizable, and easily authenticated,” Mr. Diokno.

The BSP has also formed a technical working group to study the feasibility and policy implications of a central bank digital currency, he added. — L.W.T. Noble