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BSP Sets Currency Exchange Assistance for Middle East-Based OFWs

02.28.2003

The Monetary Board announced today that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will accept currencies of Kuwait, Iraq, Israel and Turkey for conversion to pesos from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning to the Philippines from these countries if and when war erupts in the Middle East. Presently, banknotes from these countries are not convertible to pesos.

BSP Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura said that in approving the Implementing Guidelines in Accepting War-Affected Currencies from OFWs, the Monetary Board noted that if war breaks out in the Middle East, banking and remittance services may be disrupted and OFWs may face difficulties in converting currencies of these countries.

This currency exchange facility is the second assistance package from BSP for Middle East-based OFWs. Last week, BSP opened a rediscounting window for personal consumption loans granted by qualified banks to OFWs or their immediate families adversely affected by the Middle East crisis to encourage qualified universal, commercial, thrift and rural banks to extend such loans. The Monetary Board said this package of assistance from BSP should ease the plight of OFWs who have contributed much to the economy by way of their foreign exchange remittances.

Under the currency exchange facility guidelines, each OFW shall be allowed to exchange up to the equivalent value of P10,000.00 (ten thousand pesos) of any or a combination of the following currencies: Kuwaiti Dinar, Iraqi Dinar, Israel Shekel and Turkish Lira. In converting these banknotes, OFWs should present documentary proof that the money being exchanged came from salaries, savings, and or sales proceeds from the disposition of personal assets.

OFWs shall have seven working days from the date of their arrival to convert these banknotes with BSP’s Cash Department in Manila and/or its regional offices and branches as well as with Authorized Agent Banks (AABs). In particular, AABs, particularly those with branch offices at the airports, may extend banking hours, as needed, to accommodate arrivals.

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