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.
“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?”
“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.