Today in Philippine History, May 2, 1902, the US Congress passed an act authorizing a coinage system for the Philippines

Tuesday February 19, 2013 () Last updated May 02, 2016 17:49:39

On May 2, 1902, on urgent recommendation of the Philippine Commission, the US Congress passed an act authorizing a coinage system for the Philippines with a standard Philippine dollar, or "peso", worth fifty cents of American money and exchangeable at government treasuries for this amount.

The designs of the peso, half peso, peseta, and centavo were made by a Filipino, Mr. Melecio Figueroa. Over 17 million dollars of these attractive coins were received in 1903. Furthermore, paper certificates, furnishing a portable and convenient currency, were printed at Washington, the most commonly used piece, two pesos, bearing the effigy of Dr. Jose Rizal.

(The peso coin received in the islands 1903)

Mexican money, no longer acceptable for taxes or legal tender, was driven out of the Islands, while the old Spanish-Filipino coins were redeemed by the government.

The Spanish government of the Philippines late in its life established a Spanish-Filipino coinage and a mint was created in Manila. It was located in the building called Casa de Moneda. At the commencement of American occupation Mexican money flowed back into the Archipelago and became, among with other foreign coins, the common medium of exchange. There was a lack of coinage, especially of small coins. In Northern Luzon copper forgeries, called "sipings", made by the Igorot of Mankayan district, freely circulated.

During the first two years of American occupation Mexican pesos were valued at half an American dollar. But in 1901 the value of silver began to fall all over the world and a Mexican dollar ceased to be worth fifty cents gold. The depreciation continued by gradual downward stages throughout succeeding months until in March 1903, it required 2 pesos and 66 centavos to equal in value a dollar of gold. The loss to labor and to business was very great. A person receiving a wage or salary in silver found the purchasing power of his income was rapidly lessening. Prices were disturbed. As the government was still receiving Mexican money in payment of taxes and customs its revenues were seriously affected. The losses to individuals ran into untold sums.

This creation of a convenient money was one of the finest triumphs of the government. Its advantages were appreciated immediately by all classes, and contrary to expectations, the Filipinos even in remote parts of the islands, quickly familiarized themselves with the paper currency and accepted it willingly.

Reference:
History of the Philippines, pages 318-319, David Barrows, Chicago, 1925.
Photo credit: Central Bank of the Philippines


4,549

Comments (Today in Philippine History, May 2, 1902, the US Congress passed an act authorizing a coinage system for the Philippines)