April 29, 2020 – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) warns the public against “washing” coins and paper bills as a way of disinfecting money that circulate amongst people in hopes of killing COVID-19.
Based on a study, the virus responsible for COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets of water coughed by someone infected. This virus is unique because it is heavier compared to other viruses known to many. Because it is heavier, it travels only around 1 – 2 meters before falling to the ground or whatever space they land on. Now, another difference from the common viruses is that this one can stay on surfaces for days without dying. This means the chance of a person touching surfaces that might have the virus increases.
Paper bills and coins are repeatedly being passed from one person to another. There is no knowing whether one of the persons who touches it is infected.
The logical thing to do here is to wash (or put disinfectant on) one’s hand before and after touching paper bills. However, there are reports of people washing or disinfecting the bills instead. BSP Cebu Bank Officer Hazel Cultura discourages this as this is “an act of mutilation or destruction of Philippine currency”, a crime punishable by law. “The safest way of disinfecting is still washing one’s hands,” she said
The penalty for destroying Philippine currency notes and coins is no more than Php 20,000 or not more than 5 years of imprisonment.
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The BSP previously targeted a 20% increase in digital transactions in the Philippines this 2020. It looks like this target will be exceeded because the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to try out digital banking in ways they haven’t before. For example, while some people only have mobile banking accounts merely for monitoring their balances, some have begun using it to pay for bills and other services simply because the option to do that (going to a branch to pay) might not be available for now.
For this very reason, the BSP urges BSP-Supervised Financial Institutions (BSFIs) and Operators of Payment Systems (OPS) to reinforce their capabilities to address the needs of customers who will be using their digital financial channels to fulfill basic financial and payment transactions.
This article is published on BitPinas: BSP: Soap Destroys Paper Bills, Wash Your Hands Instead
Source: SunStar Cebu