The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is planning to add Braille functionality to banknotes to benefit around 2.5 million visually impaired Filipinos as it continues to support the welfare of persons with disabilities.
In July last year, the BSP also introduced enhanced tactile marks in Philippine banknotes to aid the elderly and visually impaired in identifying denominations. Adding Braille, a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have weak vision, enhances the functionality of our banknotes even further.
“Empowering vulnerable sectors has always been an underlying objective of the BSP’s efforts. For this reason, we are stepping up our financial inclusion efforts to ensure financial services are within easy reach for all Filipinos, including PWD’s,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said.
In addition, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier also reminded banks to strictly comply with laws and regulations against discriminatory practices toward PWDs. She said BSP-supervised financial institutions should take into account the needs of PWDS, including those with learning difficulties, deaf or hard of hearing, and the visually impaired.
“This is to ensure that their rights as PWDs to participate fully in the social life and enjoyment of opportunities available to other citizens are upheld at all times,” Fonacier said.
Discriminatory practices include the non-acceptance of government-issued PWD identification cards for the opening of accounts and other financial transactions, as well as turning away visually impaired persons from opening bank accounts or requiring them to open only joint accounts.
It does not take a lot to make our banks and the financial system more accessible to PWDs, but for the people in this sector, who are already facing additional challenges, the benefits are invaluable. Making banknote denominations easier to identify, accessibility ramps, and the review of discriminatory practices all add up to make lives easier.
Kudos to the BSP for making those small but steady and significant improvements as it works toward financial inclusion.*