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Currency facility for OFWs,
families from Syria launched

The Monetary Board has approved the opening of a Currency Exchange Facility that will allow Overseas Filipino Workers and their families returning from Syria to exchange Syrian currency for Philippine pesos, a press release from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.

At present, the Syrian banknotes are not convertible to pesos. BSP Governor Amando 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.

The BSP has assisted thousands of OFWs under four CEFs during the 1990 (Kuwait - Iraq war); 2003 (US - Iraq war); 2006 (Israel-Hezbollah conflict); and the 2011(Libyan conflict), the press release said.

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, to exchange their Syrian pound holdings to Philippine Peso.

They can exchange up a maximum amount equivalent to not more than P10,000.00 per eligible person, the press release said.

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), it added.

The facility shall be open to those who have returned from Syria from January 1, 2012 and shall be available for a period of four months reckoned from the effectivity date of the Circular issued for its implementation. The SYP shall be converted to Philippine Peso 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, the press release said.*

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