Part II

AS expected, e-mail inquiries from Filipinos (most of whom are overseas Filipino workers) interested in selling their gold to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas came pouring in after I wrote a column on this topic last week.

The questions varied from how much gold one is allowed to keep as savings to specific details on how to actually sell gold to the BSP. I wish to address some of these concerns here.

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The BSP, through the Mint Refinery Operations Department (MROD), started gold buying operations in September 1977.

The BSP purchases gold from gold producers, small-scale miners and from other sources through its gold buying stations in Quezon City, and in BSP offices in the cities of Davao, Zamboanga, Baguio and Naga.

According to the MROD, the BSP gold is refined in accordance with the standards of the international gold and silver bullion markets to form part of the country's international reserve.

The BSP also manufactures semi-finished gold to meet the requirement of local jewelers and industrial users.

There is actually no special license needed for an individual or company to sell gold to the BSP. As I mentioned in my previous column, the sale of gold only requires the submission of a "Letter of Delivery and Sale," a document which the BSP provides for the seller to fill up.

Another requirement which the seller must submit is a recent copy of his Community Tax Certificate (CTC).

For purposes of internal control in the release of checks, the first time seller is required to accomplish a specimen signature card and submit an ID picture for himself or his authorized representative.

The MROD also reminds the public that the transport and security arrangements in bringing gold to the BSP are the seller's sole responsibility.

Only gold sold on the date of the delivery can be accepted for storage in the MROD's vault or at the gold buying stations in the provinces.

The seller must ensure that the gold for sale is in bar or disc form (grains, powder, nuggets and flakes are not accepted); does not contain mercury or amalgam in any quantity; is free of slags (mixtures of metal oxides) and other foreign matter; has no sign of metallic segregation or layering; and is not damp or wet.

The BSP is actually very strict in accepting gold containing mercury because this is an extremely toxic chemical that can be very harmful to the people exposed to it. Mercury can also damage the equipment of the BSP during the refining process.

The maximum weight of a gold bar or disc should be approximately five kilograms, while the maximum weight per lot or transaction should be around 10 kilograms.

Gold sold to the BSP is paid in Philippine pesos based on the gold price and foreign exchange rate set by the BSP Treasury Department on a daily basis. The gold price is determined based on the international market prices at the start of each day.

According to Mr. Roque Rubiano, Security Materials Control Officer II of the MROD Gold-Buying Unit, there is no restriction in the amount of gold Filipino citizens, including OFWs, can hold as part of their savings.

He said that keeping gold as savings is a common practice, as the value of the gold increases over time.

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