500 people rush to beat deadline to change old bills
CRESCENCIA Oliverio arrived at the regional office of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Cebu City on Friday with more than just enough time to have her old peso banknotes exchanged for new ones.
Traveling from Compostela town in northern Cebu to the province’s capital, Oliverio carried with her P4,000 worth of New Design Series (NDS) bills, which lost their value in July this year.
“Nanghapnig ko sa akong cabinet, unya nakit-an nako ang kwarta (I was fixing things in my cabinet when I found the money),” she told Cebu Daily News.
Oliverio, a 66-year-old treasurer at a private accounting firm, was among more than 500 individuals who flocked to the BSP regional office along Osmeña Boulevard on Dec. 29, the deadline for exchanging NDS bills for ones under the New Generation Currency (NGC).
Like many others who came to the BSP to have their bills exchanged, the senior had forgotten about the money she was hiding inside her cabinet and only recently discovered the amount by accident.
She recalled that she started saving money more than five years ago so she had something to use during emergencies, but this eventually slipped her memory.
“My son told me that the deadline was December 29 so I told him we had to come here because it was such a waste if I don’t have it exchanged,” Oliverio said.
Since July 1 this year, only the NGC banknotes, launched in 2010, can be used for daily transactions.
The BSP originally set the demonetization of the NDS notes on Jan. 1 this year. In December last year, the BSP moved the deadline to March 31, but officials said in March that there was a public clamor to extend the deadline again.
Last June, then BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said they had no plan to extend the June 30 deadline to exchange or replace NDS with NGC bills.
The latest deadline was announced in late October this year, which was the third time the cut-off for transactions had been rescheduled by the BSP.
Andrea Estrera, a resident of Barangay Mabolo in Cebu City, already had P1,000 in denominations of P100, P50, and P20 exchanged last January.
But during a trip to her hometown in Negros earlier this month, she discovered that her 88-year-old mother still had old notes worth P300 in her wallet.
“This may be just a small amount, but it’s still money,” she said in Cebuano.
As of 12 p.m. on Friday, the BSP Cebu regional office already catered to more than 500 people.
The central bank started accommodating exchanges last Oct. 30 and has since released new bills worth P27.1 million in Cebu alone as of Dec. 28, according to lawyer Leonides Sumbi, BSP-Cebu regional director.
Sumbi said they expect to have catered to more than 550 individuals on the deadline, bringing to more than 6,000 the total number of people they have served between Oct. 30 and Dec. 29.
On Thursday, she said they were able to release P1.6 million worth of NGC banknotes.
The BSP earlier launched an intensified campaign to remind the public to have their old bills exchanged, tapping different local media organizations to get their message across.
“In terms of quantity exchanged, I can say that we are satisfied, considering the short length of time. But if you ask whether I am satisfied with the response, I can’t really tell because there shouldn’t even be people having their bills exchanged today,” she said.
“We have been campaigning for this for more than one year. What have they been doing during that period? Why? What have we done wrong? Where have we failed?,” Sumbi said.
Sumbi added that these were not people who put off having their bills exchanged because these were only meager amounts, but those who had as much as P49,000 to P400,000 stashed away and forgotten.
“If we did not open the exchanges again, what will happen to their money?,” she asked.
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