Bangko Sentral opens exchange office for Filipinos returning from Ukraine due to war

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REUTERS/Eloise Lopez

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has launched a program that will allow Filipinos returning from Ukraine to exchange their Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) for peso to support displaced migrants from the war-torn country.

The Exchange Facility approved by the Currency Board will allow Returned Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families to exchange their UAH holdings equivalent to no more than P20,000 per eligible person, based on the circular BSP 1145 Series of 2022 published by the central bank late on Monday.

Amounts beyond that will be exchanged on highly meritorious grounds and subject to central bank approval.

The Foreign Exchange (FX) facility will be available to OFWs who have returned to the country from February 22. It will be available for four months after the entry into force of the circular.

OFWs and their family members wishing to operate the FX facility are required to submit documentary proof of travel from Ukraine.

The exchange can be effected through the head office, regional offices and branches of the BSP, as well as approved agent banks.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and the war has no end in sight to this day as the two sides continue to fight.

In 2021, remittances from Ukraine amounted to $121,000. This is relatively small compared to the $3.745 billion in admissions from Europe and the total of $31.417 billion from around the world.

The Philippine government assisted more than 400 Filipinos to be repatriated from Ukraine in March, according to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. — Luz Wendy T. Noble

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