Product Owner: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
Communication Office – Strategic Communication Sub-sector, Regional Operations and Advocacy Sector, BSP
Date the Program was first implemented
As the sole issuer of Philippine currency, the BSP constantly finds ways to improve banknotes and coins in response to the changing needs of Filipinos and the evolution of technology. Toward this end, the BSP introduced the 1000-Piso polymer banknotes.
Drawing on the best communication practices of the central banks from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, the BSP implemented a strategic communication plan that highlights the benefits of polymer banknotes as smarter (more secure and sustainable), cleaner (more hygienic and sanitary), and stronger (more durable and cost-effective) than paper banknotes.
As the BSP began the issuance of the 1000-Piso polymer banknotes in April 2022, it rolled out an engagement program to inform the public about the benefits, design, and security features of the new banknotes. The program also aimed to secure support, build coalitions, and cultivate champions among key stakeholders and address questions on polymerization from relevant industry groups.
The said engagement program, including its messages and channels, was tailored based on a specific stakeholder profile, customized in terms of the preferred medium by each stakeholder. To do this, the BSP conducted a comprehensive stakeholder analysis to determine the interests, concerns, and ways to strengthen the support or address the concerns of identified stakeholders.
The program proactively utilized consultations with potential champions and industry stakeholders, social media materials, a webpage, press releases, roadshows and training sessions, info sheets, and audiovisual presentations.
Countr(ies) where implemented
Describe the communication channels, media, format
The BSP identified groups that may have varying interests as regards polymerization and prioritized them in the consultations to address their concerns.
The BSP also coordinated with the country’s health and environment protection departments so that they could rally behind the public health and sustainability benefits of polymer banknotes, respectively. The BSP also engaged Philippine historians and numismatists.
The BSP launched a polymer webpage and published downloadable info sheets, press releases, and social media cards on polymer banknotes’ benefits and other frequently asked questions. Said materials were released in English and Filipino versions.
The BSP conducted training sessions for bank personnel, cash handlers, and the BSP’s regional branches and offices; equipping them for their grassroots information campaigns for local businesses, governments, public transportation groups, and bank associations.
Furthermore, the BSP quickly responded to public questions through letters, press statements, and attendance in public hearings.
Creativity and innovation of design; and educational features of the program
This public engagement program’s creative and innovative aspects are anchored in the three engagement program strategies employed. First is the tailored engagement approach based on specific stakeholder concerns customized in the media used by each stakeholder. This is evidenced by the consultation meetings, ceremonial events, press releases, technical briefings, the release of info sheets and audiovisual presentations, the production of an interactive webpage and social media content, grassroots briefings, and radio and TV guestings of resource persons. Second is a coalition-building approach, as evidenced by BSP’s consultation meetings with concerned industry stakeholders, various government agencies, key policy makers, and historical and cultural groups. And third is the proactive monitoring of news, online reactions, and other feedback about the project to produce and publish timely and context-appropriate content materials.
Quality of the delivery channels of the engagement program
The selection of delivery channels for the program is based on a holistic engagement approach focusing on: 1) educating the public about the new banknotes and highlighting their key security features and the three major benefits (i.e., smarter, cleaner, and stronger); 2) promoting circulation of the new polymer banknotes and their use as legal tender for daily transactions; 3) managing the public’s expectations in terms of encountering the money, considering the limited amount of polymer banknotes and its staggered delivery timeline; 4) securing support, building coalitions and cultivating champions among key stakeholders; 5) creating awareness and increasing acceptance of the public; and 6) managing reputational risks among all stakeholders.
The conduct of Facebook-livestreamed ceremonial events, the release of videos and quote cards on social media, production of press releases and collaterals with English and Filipino language versions, audiovisual presentations for the regional TV and radio shows, and social media materials, the launch of the webpage, and radio and TV guestings of resource persons were customized to effectively reach key stakeholders in order to address their concerns and share information based on their interests.
The solicitation of a statement of support from the national government’s Department of Health for the hygienic benefits of polymer banknotes and coordination with the environmental bureau were pivotal in supporting the “cleaner” and “smarter” messaging that was used in the engagement program materials to appeal to key stakeholders, such as the medical community and environmental groups.
The coordination with the country’s Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Land Registry, and Foreign Affairs Agencies also helped address some of the concerns of industry groups regarding the polymerization project.
Engagement with well-respected Philippine historians/numismatists led to the publication of editorial pieces discussing the practicality of introducing the new flora and fauna design on banknotes in credible newspapers, enabling BSP to respond to the concerns of historical, cultural, and heritage groups. A feature on the wildlife photographer, whose photo of the endangered Philippine Eagle was used for the banknote design, also helped generate support from conservationists.
The conduct of 14 technical briefings and the production of training kits and info sheets designed for bank personnel, cash handlers, and the BSP’s regional branches and offices helped ensure that those at the ground level were familiar with the features and benefits of the new polymer banknotes. Through these efforts, the BSP was able to reach micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises, supermarket, and business associations, public market vendor associations and customers, local government unit associations, store networks, church groups, and schools.
To mark the public launch of the polymer banknotes and to communicate with the public that the government leadership supports the polymer banknotes, the BSP presented the 1000-Piso polymer banknote bearing their signatures to former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in April 2022 and to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr in December 2022.
Ease of public use and understanding (effectiveness) of the engagement program
As of 31 January 2023, the polymer webpage (bit.ly/PolymerPH) has garnered 119,315 views with an average viewing time per visitor of almost four minutes. Info sheets have been downloaded 8,747 times, while videos on polymer banknotes garnered over 50,000 views.
The 32 social media posts on polymer banknotes have an average engagement rate of 8%, while the seven BSP press releases on the same subject generated 166 media pickups.
The engagement with the health department led to their production of an evidence review paper supporting the “cleaner” messaging of polymer banknotes. After meeting with BSP, key thought leaders supported the polymer banknotes’ new flora and fauna design through various editorial columns. The discussions for producing land titles and other official documents using a local fiber affected by polymerization commenced after the BSP-led consultations with government agencies.
A BSP-commissioned focus group discussion (FGD) with key stakeholder groups across the country, conducted in October 2022, found that the public generally perceives polymer banknotes as “smarter”, having better security features than paper banknotes, and an appealing design. The FGD also revealed that the “cleaner” and “stronger” messaging has stuck with the public, as respondents noted that the new banknotes are resistant to harmful microorganisms, waterproof, and durable.
According to a BSP-commissioned national survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2022, 67% of adult Filipinos are aware of the new polymer banknote, and 90% of the minority that have used said banknote did not experience any problems with it.