What is the Currency of the Philippines?

By Chelangat Faith on August 1 2017 in Economics

A collection of Philippine pesos.

The Peso is the Philippine’s official currency. It is made up of 100 subunits called centimos. The Philippines was colonized by the United States and used English on its notes and coins initially. In 1967 the country adopted the Filipino language on its currency and the term peso was replaced with piso. The word used for the centimos is centavo or sentimo.

Symbol and Mintage

The symbol used to denote the peso is ₱ and the sign is included in version 3.2 of the Unicode Consortium. It can also be written as P, PHP, or P$. Printing of banknotes and minting of coinage is done by the country’s central bank in their Security Plant Complex. The plant is in the city of Quezon.

History of the Currency

Before the colonial period, the Philippines was made up of various kingdoms. The tribes making up these kingdoms used barter trade amongst themselves and to trade with their neighbours. Due to the inconvenience of this method, the people started adopting some common objects to standardized currency. Gold was one of these objects and it was used in form of barter rings and pilancitos which were small gold bits and are the Philippine’s oldest coins.

Teston coins were introduced into the Philippines in 1521 following the arrival of the Spaniards, who came with their own money. The Spanish peso was then introduced and many modifications were done on it until Philippines declared its independence in 1898. The country started using its own peso which was divided into centavo. These coins were used until 1903 when America colonized the Philippines and imposed a new form of peso on the Philippines. It was used in the Philippines until 1949 when the country opened its Central Bank. The bank was then issued with the mandate to print and mint the country’s currency.

Coins and Notes

Modern day coinage was introduced in the country in 1958 and in 1967 the country started using Filipino names on its currency. The commonly used coins are in denominations of 1, 5, and 10 pesos. They also have 1, 5, 10, and 25 centavo coins which are rarely used. The notes are issued in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 pesos. They also have 200 peso notes but they are not used frequently.

Exchange Rate

The rate of exchange of the Peso against other currencies has greatly changed since 1950s. By then, 2 pesos were trading against $1. The devaluation of the peso has led to the decline of its trading power over the years. Currently, the rate of exchange is 50.86 pesos to $1.

Recent Issues With the Currency

In the year 2005, an estimated 78 million bills of 100 pesos were printed with the president’s surname reading "Arrovo" instead of Arroyo. The spelling mistake was only discovered after the circulation of 2 million bills had already been affected. Since 2006, it was established that the country’s coins of 1 peso resembles the UAE 1 dirham and the US quarter coins. Cases of fraud involving the 1 peso coin have been reported in these countries.

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