Rethinking our view of currency: Discontinue the centavo

There was a time when the Philippine Peso (code — PHP) had a lot more value. My mom often told us of how her salary of 4PHP a day would be enough for her own needs, put payments on household appliances and even give some to her folks (#passive-aggressive). We would tease a classmate because he had a daily allowance of 20PHP.

Currencies are often pegged against the US Dollar, after which most of them (including the PHP) are allowed to fluctuate for one of many possible reasons. It’s high time we accept the fact that we are so far away from the original $1–2PHP (or was it 3?) exchange rate. The piso can’t buy much these days.

I would like to propose that we completely eliminate the use of the centavo (1/100 of a PHP!) in everyday transactions. I’m too lazy to look for data (my supervisor would probably yank away my scholarship if he heard this!) but google told me that low-value coins cost more than its worth (face value). I think we’d save a lot of money (not to mention bank vault space) if we made the centavo obsolete. Here in HK ($1HK=6PHP), everything is rounded (almost always down) to the nearest 10 cents. Most stores in the Philippines, even the big ones like the two-lettered monstrosity of a mall, like pricing stuff with odd amounts ending in 0.67 or 0.99 but refuse to give exact change. As I have pointed it out one time, the cashier gave me a confounded look so as to say papatulan mo ang 17 centavos?

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