BSP opens currency conversion facility for returning Filipinos from Ukraine

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has set up a Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH)-Currency Exchange Facility (CEF) for overseas Filipinos (OFs) returning from Ukraine.

BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno on Thursday, May 26, said the CEF is a liquidity assistance for returning OFs by enabling them to exchange for pesos their holdings of UAH, a currency that is not freely convertible in the Philippines.

The BSP has exchanged an amount equivalent to about P221 million for OFs affected by geopolitical concerns including the 1990 and 2003 Gulf War, the 2006 Lebanon War and the 2011 Libyan Civil War. Other currency conversion facilities were established during the 2013 Syrian Civil War, and the 2014 second Libyan Civil War.

“The BSP considers the repatriation of OFs due to armed conflict to be of national interest. Our OFs are new heroes and key contributors to the Philippine economy. In line with this, the BSP will provide assistance to the OFs, particularly those affected by the armed conflict in Ukraine,” said Diokno in an online press chat.

This is part of the central bank’s sustained efforts to help OFs affected by emergencies or unforeseen problems abroad that require repatriation, said the BSP.

The BSP said OFs and their family members who have returned from Ukraine since Feb. 18 February are eligible for the currency exchange. They may also convert their UAH holdings through an authorized representative.

The amount of UAH that may be exchanged will not be more than the equivalent of P20,000 per eligible person – “except for highly meritorious reasons and subject to BSP approval.”

The exchange may be done in multiple transactions if the eligible person has not reached the limit and the CEF is still available, said the BSP.

The CEF will be open from May 30 until Sept. 29 this year.

The Russia-Ukraine war has been ongoing since Feb. 24. It started when Russia invaded Ukraine to “demilitarize” Ukraine whom Russian President Vladimir Putin stated is festered by fascist “Nazis” and will have to be “denazified”. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is jewish, and he has debunked Putin’s neo-nazis claims.

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