A party-list lawmaker on Wednesday urged Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to immediately order the full recall of all its newly-released New Generation Currency (NGC) coins because of supposed design flaws.
PBA party-list Representative Jericho Nograles said the NGC coins, which the BSP released on Tuesday, are misleading and causing confusion to the public.
"How many times have you reached into your pocket while inside a cramped jeepney and ended up paying the driver more than you should because you gave him the new five-peso coins instead of one-peso coins? Probably more than once already," he said.
"In this case, we can't even fault the driver for not calling your attention on the wrong payment since they usually just glance at the coin before placing it in their money box. These innocent mistakes happen in commercial establishments too," he added.
BSP Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the new coins feature enhanced design and security. “In particular, micro-printed details using laser-engraving technology were included in the two highest denominated coins, the 10 piso and 5 piso,” he said.
But while BSP claims that the new coins are easy to distinguish from each other, Nograles said otherwise.
"Basic design principles for coinage demands that the denominations are easy to distinguish not just visually, but also through touch or tactile differences. Our new coins fail in these principles,” he said.
Nograles argued that the designs initiated during the Aquino administration lacked consulation with "any school of the blind."
"Did the BSP even consider jeepney, pedicab, tricycle, and taxi drivers? Did they consider the visually-impaired, and senior citizens, at all?” he said.
The lawmaker said the new design poses a negative impact on labor and industry.
Apart from unintended overpayments and underpayments due to tactile and visual confusion from the new design, he said the vending machine industry will be greatly affected.
“Dispensers in public restrooms will have to be redesigned and replaced as their coin slots are rendered obsolete. Vending machines in office buildings and school campuses will need hardware and software upgrades," Nograles said.
Even coin organizers of cashiers in toll booths, ticket outlets, and banks, among others, would be useless” he added.
Nograles said BSP can still recall the new coins and consider a revision of the design.
"The primary consideration of the BSP was to produce cheaper and stronger coins. That's fine," he said.
"However, they can at least match the weight, diameter and thickness of the widely circulated coins, so people will not be confused and machines will no longer be replaced,” he added.
The BSP is set to conduct information campaigns across the country to introduce the new coin series. It, however, has yet to release the demonetization schedule for the old coins, which consumers may continue to pay for goods and services. —Erwin Colcol/KBK, GMA News