Counterfeiting: Reason behind demonetization – BSP official

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An official from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) admits, the techniques of counterfeiters have become more sophisticated over the years.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's new generation bank notes were introduced not just for the sake of changing designs.

In an interview with CNN Philippines Digital on Wednesday (November 4),  Grace Malic, officer-in-charge for Currency Issue and Integrity Office of the BSP, said the the primary reason is that the old bank notes have become easier to counterfeit.

She explained that different countries have also shifted to new bank notes due to a change in government, social change, and hyperinflation. But “in our case, the reason is to protect the integrity of our currency.”

Malic admitted that the techniques of counterfeiters have become more sophisticated over the years.

“So the threat we are facing now is the reproduction technology. During the period when we don’t have this colored reproduction technology, the threat is not so much because the counterfeit produced are not that good,” Malic explained.

“But because of the developments in the reproduction technology, it’s easier for them (counterfeiters), it’s more convenient for them, and they come up with better counterfeit,” she added.

By the end of the year, the old bank notes will no longer have monetary value.

Old bank notes can only be used for transactions until December this year, and could only be replaced by banks until December 2016.

These bank notes have been in circulation for 30 years.

Demonetization_10_CNNPH.png Old bank notes  

These will be replaced with new bank notes which have only been in circulation since 2010.

Demonetization_9_CNNPH.png New bank notes  

Come January 2016, these will be the only bank notes which can be used for daily transactions. Bills for P5.00 and P10.00 will be phased out. 

The new bank notes also bear the new logo of the Bangko Sentral.

More security features

The BSP has incorporated features, which according to Malic, are more difficult for counterfeiters to imitate.

There are visually obvious security features in the new bank notes, like the larger security thread which can be found in all denominations:


There's also the optically variable device (OVD) patch which can only be found in the larger P500 and P1,000 denominations.

The OVD patch has a unique central figure, which has a different color from the background design.

What’s unique in this feature is that the central figure and the background design interchange colors as you rotate the bank note in 90 degrees.

OVD patch.png A year after the new bank notes were released, the OVD feature has won an award in Singapore, in a competition for new bank notes organized by the International Association for Currency Affairs in 2011.  

The watermarks in the new bank notes are more detailed compared to the watermarks in counterfeit money.

Demonetization_2_CNNPH.png Left: Genuine, Right: Counterfeit  

Visually handicapped friendly design

Aside from the security features, the new bank notes also have features for the visually handicapped. The features are difficult to counterfeit as well.

“When we conceptualized the designs, we have considered the visually handicapped,” Malic said.

According to Malic, the denominations in the new notes are printed larger for people to see the values, even in dark places.

The print in the new bank notes are also embossed — which is a key feature in determining genuine money.

Malic said that the print in the genuine bank notes are embossed, and that every detail can be felt by touch, especially when you run your nail across the print.


Aside from these, Malic said that the printed denominations in all the notes have codes for the blind.

New design represents Filipinos

Malic said the new bank notes were conceptualized in the manner that each design will represent Filipino society, culture, and history.

“It represents us, it’s actually showcasing who Filipinos are." 

Malic added, this is why the new bank notes are also printed in brighter colors.

"'Di ba colourful ang ating history? We are fun-loving people,” said Malic.

Malic also pointed out, every detail in the design of the new bank notes are proudly sketched and crafted by Pinoy artists.