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Fake Peso Bills Circulate in Catanduanes, Masbate

LEGAZPI CITY, April 27, --- As the national and local political campaign heats up in Bikol, state monetary authorities are closely checking the proliferation of counterfeit peso bills and coins circulating specifically in the island provinces of Masbate and Catanduanes.

At a Joint Consultative Conference on the May Election held over the weekend, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) security officer issued an advisory about the presence of counterfeit bills circulating at the onset of the May national and local polls.

Marlyn Paje, BSP regional manager, in an interview today, confirmed that indeed their office received reports and complaints on the existence of counterfeit bills and coins circulating specifically in the island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate.

Paje said they have in their holdings 70 pieces of various denominated fake bills of P1,000, P500 and P200, including coins of P10 and P5 denominations.

She said 75 percent of the fake bills comes in a form of "big" bills (P1,000 to P500) and the rest are in small bills and coins.

The fake money were surrendered to the BSP by various private banks across the region from the period covering March and April, this year.

Paje said that last year, police and monetary authorities discovered a printing machine used to print fake currency somewhere in the region. She, however refused to name the specific location where the printing facility was found.

Asked if the fake bills had anything to do with the forthcoming Presidential election, Paje said her office oftentimes receive reports about the proliferation of fake currency during election, Christmas, and school enrolment.

As this developed, monetary authorities are checking reports of involvement of some crooked politicians engaging the services of a big time syndicate producing fake peso bills.

Reports have it that the politicians would be using the fake bills in buying votes, including circulating fake bills in behalf of their political rivals. (PNA)