A lawmaker wants hoarding of Philippine coins to be criminalized and hoarders penalized with eight years imprisonment and a fine of not less than P300,000.
Rep. Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City, author of House Bill 1662, or the proposed Anti-Hoarding of Philippine Legal Tender Coins Act of 2013, said hoarding of coins of any denomination is causing an artificial shortage of small denominations of currency in the country, which is seen as the reason for the lack of small change in various establishments.
“The unscrupulous practice of hoarding of coins is tantamount to economic sabotage and is creating an artificial shortage of coins,” Treñas said.
Treñas said the bill will criminalize the keeping or possession of coins of any denomination exceeding the allowable aggregate value, number of pieces and weight to be determined by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) by any person, corporation, partnership, association or any other form of juridical personality.
The measure seeks to re-circulate the hoarded coins collected and kept by syndicates currently hoarding coins with impunity in the Philippines, which are in turn smelted and converted into other materials of various industrial uses.
Treñas said Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act established BSP as the country’s central bank. Among the objectives of the BSP is to promote and maintain the monetary stability of the Philippine peso.
“The BSP has the sole power and authority to issue currency within the territory of the Philippines, and it has the authority to investigate, make arrests, conduct searches and seizures in accordance with law for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the currency. The BSP is therefore the proper agency to enforce and implement the proposed Act,” Treñas said.
The bill will exempt charitable institutions, private banks, banking and financial institutions of the government, and government agencies and instrumentalities when they hold or keep such coins in connection with their official duties.
“The BSP may also exempt persons engaged in retail business, provided that said persons in retail business must not keep or hold such coins beyond the reasonable needs of the business based on its average utility gross sales,” Treñas added.
The bill provides that the separate sets of aggregate amounts shall be determined for persons engaged in business and for persons not engaged in business.
The BSP is empowered to review and change, if needed, the aggregate amounts every three years based on the prevailing value, supply and demand of legal tender coins.PNA