The Monetary Board has approved the opening of a Currency Exchange Facility (CEF) that will allow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families returning from Syria to exchange Syrian currency for Philippine pesos (PHP).
At present, the Syrian banknotes are not convertible to pesos. Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said the facility was established as part of the BSP’s initiative to assist OFWs who were displaced by the conflict in Syria. To date, the BSP has assisted thousands of OFWs under four (4) CEFs during namely, (a) 1990 (Kuwait - Iraq war); (b) 2003 (US - Iraq war); (c) 2006 (Israel - Hezbollah conflict); and (d) 2011 (Libyan conflict).
Under the CEF, OFWs and their Syria-based family members will be allowed, through the BSP Head Office, its Regional Offices and branches, as well as with authorized agent banks (AABs), to exchange their Syrian pound (SYP) holdings to Philippine Peso up to a maximum amount equivalent to not more than PHP10,000.00 per eligible person. OFWs and their family members shall present documentary proof of their travel from Syria (original passport or travel document issued by the Philippine Embassy in Damascus stamped with an exit visa by the Syrian Immigration and Passport Directorate).
The facility shall be open to those who have returned from Syria from 01 January 2012 and shall be available for a period of four (4) months reckoned from the effectivity date of the Circular issued for its implementation.
The SYP shall be converted to PHP based on the latest available exchange rate at the time of exchange as indicated in the BSP Reference Exchange Rate Bulletin.
The CEF takes effect 15 days after publication of the implementing Circular.
Detailed guidelines are in Circular No. 780 dated 10 January 2013 which is posted at the BSP website at www.bsp.gov.ph/downloads/regulations/attachments/2013/c780.pdf.