The peso is the official currency of the Republic of the Philippines; however, since 1967, the currency has been known in the Filipino language as the piso. Although the official symbol for the peso is ₱, it is also commonly denoted by the following abbreviations and symbols: P, Php, PHP and P. The Philippine peso was introduced in 1903 when the Philippines was a colony of the United States, although several other peso currencies were in use before this time. Today, the peso is issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Central Bank of the Philippines.
The Philippines began its relationship with Western Civilisation as a colony of Spain in the early 16th century, and the colony’s first currency was the teston, a silver coin valued at 4 Spanish reales. Before the end of the century, this was replaced by the Spanish 8-reales coin. An early attempt at introducing a decimal currency came in 1857 with the introduction of the peso fuerte. The greatest change in the currency of the Philippines was the introduction of the Philippines peso in 1903 by the United States. The peso was initially valued at 2 pesos: 1 dollar.
After the Philippines gained independence in 1949, the Central Bank of the Philippines was established and authorised as the sole issuer of the peso. Early mistakes, however, led to rapid devaluation and the loss of much of the country’s precious metal reserves. By 1964, the silver value of peso coins was worth more than their face value so the silver peso was devalued and the currency was floated. Today, the peso is backed 100 percent with foreign currency reserves.
As of 2010, the economy of the Philippines is the 46th largest worldwide due to its modern industrialisation. Agriculture still contributes to 13 percent of the GDP, but industry accounts for 30 percent. The services sector contributes the most to the GDP at 56.2 percent. The growth of the Philippines’ economy began after World War II, and for many years, it was the second largest in East Asia after Japan. However, in recent decades, growth has not been as phenomenal, with GDP per capita growth averaging at 1.45 percent. One of the obstacles of higher economic growth is its uneven distribution by region. Economic experts are predicting economic growth to rise in coming years due to increased tourism and the outsourcing of foreign business processes to the Philippines.