ICYDK, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP; Central Bank of the Philippines) released guidelines on handling the new PHP1000 polymer banknotes, which include keeping them flat and not folding them in half — as one inevitably would when storing them in a folding wallet.
BSP Governor Felipe Medalla realizes this and has asked the public to carry a longer-sized wallet instead, adding that women would not have a hard time because they carry handbags, a remark that clearly did not sit well with people online.
In an interview with One News, Medalla said, “One thing to adjust is to have wallets or purses that prevent it from being totally folded. The wallet must be as long as the bill so that the money wouldn’t need to be folded.”
“It’s easier for women because you have handbags,” he added in Filipino.
The BSP first announced last year that they were shifting banknote production from paper made of local abaca to polymer, at the expense of the country’s abaca industry, as polymer bills are supposedly stronger and more hygienic, an added consideration amid the pandemic, they said.
Yet Medalla warned that the polymer bills, supposedly more secure and durable than abaca bills, could break easily with too much folding.
The new guidelines from the BSP have raised concerns among netizens, who argued that handling the new polymer banknotes required more care than the traditional paper bills.
Not to say that we should disrespect our banknote, but we all know that folding bills back home is common practice and it's been working for us with abaca-made bills. If it's not broken, don't fix it.
— Prinz Magtulis 프린즈 (@prinzmagtulis) June 25, 2022
Aren't polymer bank notes supposed to be more sturdy than the paper bills they were meant to replace? https://t.co/qqKsQr6s4F
— Unlawyer (@unlawyer) June 26, 2022
Isn't the justification given by #dioknoIsAnIdiot is that the polymer notes will be more durable? Why ask the people to be more careful in handling the new notes?#dioknoIsAnIdiot is the only BSP gov that has ordered the printing/minting of our money in record amounts. Kumisyon? https://t.co/2o9oL8OyGG
— I Dissent!!!! (@serrano_rene) June 27, 2022
“Does he really think most laborers use wallets?” One user asked.
“Tell that to the market vendors, jeepney and tricycle drivers, and bus conductors,” another said.
And with Medalla singling out women and assuming that all women carry handbags, a chorus of netizens replied with, “sexist much?”
I can't tell whatever that comment is sexist or ignorant or both. I thought the idea behind using polymer is to make the notes more sturdy. Tapos ngayon bawal tupiin. Also, hindi po ba lahat ng babae ay mahilig mag handbag at may malaking wallet.
— CrisV (@888cv) June 26, 2022
“Mas madali yan sa babae kasi may handbag kayo.” tse andaming mali sa buhay mo
(@paganfoxx) June 26, 2022
insensitivity by placing the burden on the masses tapos may twinge of sexism pa? pick a struggle https://t.co/zMVzII5GFX
— kent sorgon, he/his (rage era) (@kntsrgn) June 27, 2022
What an assumption that it’s easier for women because they have handbags. Gender issue here. And that people use wallets or that all people work clean jobs that do not subject cash to water, soil, friction etc. https://t.co/Y4sP3VK4Hc
— Chef Justice (@1giney) June 26, 2022
The added sexism is the icing on the cake
— J.P. Mercado
(@jprmercado) June 26, 2022
“What an assumption that it’s easier for women because they have handbags. Gender issue here. And that people use wallets or that all people work clean jobs that do not subject cash to water, soil, friction,” one user said.
“The added sexism is the icing on the cake,” another said.
Last year, the BSP revealed their plans to test polymer on P1,000 bills on a limited basis in early 2022.