THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has sent researchers to India to work on developing a paper for Philippine peso bills.
“India has opened their laboratories to our researchers [and] we sent researchers there so that in the future we will be able to manufacture our own money paper,” DOST undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevarra said in a press conference at the opening of the 2nd Asean-India InnoTech Summit and Grassroots Forum 2019, Wednesday, November 20.
She added that the Philippine banknotes contain abaca (Musa textilis) fibers which we export to other countries and then we buy it back at a higher cost because it is already in paper form.
In a July 2018 statement, Adela Torres, DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) Pulp and Paper Products Development focal, said abaca is one of the country’s biggest exports yet a huge bulk is still being imported to be used as raw materials for banknotes.
“With the country supplying 85 percent of the total global abaca demand equivalent to 90 metric tons. Despite this huge volume though, the country still imports about 780,000 kilos of currency base paper a year, which the BSP (Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas) turns into paper money,” she said in a statement.
Torres added the banknote or paper money is printed on imported currency base paper (CBP) made from 20 percent abaca and 80 percent cotton.
DOST-FPRDI director Romulo Aggangan cited the BSP spends P3 billion annually to print new banknotes to replace deteriorated or demonetized ones.
Last year, the researchers of the DOST-FPRDI have developed a paper for a banknote made of combined fibers of abaca, salago (Wikstroemia spp.) and mangium (Acacia mangium).
“Tests showed that its folding endurance is similar to that of imported currency base paper. It was also found to be tear resistant,” Torres said.
Aggangan said sourcing out local fibers for the development of Philippine money would help the abaca farmers and other farmers of different fibers.