Marcos Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: ‘Ang Bagong Lipunan’ currency series not backed by gold

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FACT CHECK: ‘Ang Bagong Lipunan’ currency series not backed by gold
Demonetized banknotes and coins no longer hold monetary value, aside from being part of a collection

The Claim: The “Ang Bagong Lipunan” (ABL) currency series, introduced during the administration of former president and dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, is backed by gold. The video claims that documents from banknote printing company Thomas De La Rue plc supposedly legitimize the currency’s gold backing.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the YouTube video, posted on March 28, has gained 7,392 views from an account with 38,200 subscribers.

The Facts: According to a Johns Hopkins University study on the history of the Philippine currency, the gold-exchange standard for the Philippine peso was abandoned in 1949 with the establishment of the Central Bank of the Philippines, now the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The study also said the monetary system of the country has since then followed the central bank-regulated fiat currency. Unlike the gold standard, a fiat currency’s value is not fixed in gold.

The BSP website said the ABL series was issued and circulated from 1973 to 1993, long after the country abandoned the gold standard and used fiat currency.

The country’s central bank also said De La Rue only printed the ABL series from 1973 to 1978, before being replaced by the BSP’s Sentral Security Printing Plant. This BSP currency production facility is now known as the Security Plant Complex (SPC).

No records of agreement between De La Rue and the Marcos administration on the gold-exchange value of the ABL series can be found in the printing company’s history archive

Rappler had previously fact checked a similar claim on Marcos’ instructions on the ABL series, showing these to be false.

Authenticity of Records: As proof of the claim, the video showed a Certificate of Entitlement from De La Rue signed by Marcos and a memorandum regarding an ad hoc committee on treasure hunting during former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration. 

Footage of supposed De La Rue documents being dipped in water was included to show their supposed authenticity. However, De La Rue’s waterproof SAFEGUARD™ was launched and first issued in 2013. The first waterproof paper document was developed in 2002.

There were also no records of an “Ad Hoc Committee to Protect Treasure Hunting, Investors, and Holders of Precious Metals, Historical Notes.” Accodring to the Official Gazette website, a Technical Review Committee on Treasure Hunting (Memorandum Order No. 48, s. 1999) was signed during Joseph Estrada’s administration, not Arroyo’s.

To learn more about the demonetization of Philippine currency, see Rappler’s other fact checks on the ABL coins and ₱100 coins. Kyle Marcelino/ 

Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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