THE committee on commerce and trade of the City Council has urged the public to report cases of fake bills, as police investigate at least two complaints of counterfeit money in the city.

"It's important that any person in possession of counterfeit bills report this to the police to give us an idea of the extent of this problem," said Councilor Ramon Tabor, chairman of the commerce and trade.

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One of the two alleged victims of fake money claimed she got it from an automated teller machine (ATM) in a bank at Cogon market; another said his fake P1,000 bill came from a worldwide money transfer service.

In a meeting with Tabor's committee late last week, however, officials of the Oro Bankers and the Central Bank assured that money loaded on ATMs are genuine currencies.

City Police Director Benedicto Lopez, who was in the meeting, said a police committee was already formed to investigate the claims.

The duration of the time within which the withdrawal or the handling of money to the alleged victims will prominently factor in during the probe, the police official said.

Corazon Bacus, 41, a resident of Barangay Puntod, complained to Cogon Police Station early last week that the P500 bill she used to purchase items on a mall turned out to be counterfeit. She said the money came from an ATM of a bank located near Cogon market.

Elpidio Arango of Barangay Bugo was the next to complain, this time for a fake P1,000 bill that he said came from a popular money transfer firm.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), genuine bills and coins have the following characteristics:

* Genuine currency notes are a bit rough in texture while counterfeit bills are very smooth.

*Genuine bills also have embossed watermarks. They have window security thread, colored green to magenta when exposed to light.

* For P10 and P5, genuine coins are not magnetic, have deep "griddings", and made of smooth, fine metal. Designs of counterfeit coins are off-centered. (DVA)