AS Christmas season nears, the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas urged the public to use coins when transacting to avoid an artificial coin shortage.

Based on a research by the BSP, P243 in coins are kept by each person from the 25-30 billion pieces of coins produced in the country.

BSP La Union Regional Office Director Rogel Joseph del Rosario plead to people who usually keep their coins in their homes, particularly in piggy banks as well as church and charitable institutions whose collections consist of coins to use the money to avoid artificial coin shortage.

The BSP official pointed out that there is no supply shortage but there is increasing demand especially with the start of the Christmas Season.

"Napakarami ng coins natin in circulation, hindi lang natin napapaikot ng maigi, kasi nakatago sa mga wallet natin, mga drawers natin," said del Rosario.

Del Rosario added when coins are taken out of circulation, it greatly affects the country's monetary system.

The official added the 1¢,5¢, and 10¢, should be used as they have not been demonetized by the Banko Sentral.

"Iitinatago natin, ayaw natin ibayad dahil ung iba nahihiyang magbayad ng barya pero dun sa purchasing power of peso, iyong mga lower denominated coins, puwede nating ibayad yung 1¢ up to 25¢," Del Rosario added establishments who refuse to accept coins, especially those lower than 25¢ as payments must be reported to the BSP or through the help of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The BSP official also warned establishments shortchanging their costumers because of the lack of coins.

"Hindi ka puwedeng magsukli ng kulang at hindi ka din puwedeng magsukli ng kendi o kung anumang bagay na kapalit ng barya. Hindi mo din puwedeng pakiusapan ang consumer na wala kang barya, this is a violation of the No Short Changing Act or RA 10909," he added.

The "No Shortchanging Act" aims to protect the welfare of consumers from unscrupulous traders who give insufficient change or give customers candies instead of bills or coins.

RA 10909, not only covers business establishments but also public transport.

Violators of RA 10909 will be fined P500 for first offense while for second offense, the business establishment's license to operate will be suspended for three months plus a fine of P15,000.

For third offense, the establishment will be closed and a fined P25,000.