REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

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

The currency exchange facility approved by the Monetary Board will allow returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families to exchange their UAH holdings equivalent to not more than P20,000 per eligible person, based on BSP Circular 1145 Series of 2022 released by the central bank late Monday.

Amounts beyond that will be exchanged for highly meritorious reasons and subject to approval by the central bank.

The foreign exchange (FX) facility will be accessible for OFWs who have returned to the country from Feb. 22 onwards. It will be available for four months after the effectivity of the circular.

OFWs and their family members who want to tap the FX facility are required to present documentary proof of their travel from Ukraine.

The exchange may be done through the BSP’s head office, regional offices and branches, as well as authorized agent banks.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and the war has no end in sight to date as both parties continue to fight.

In 2021, remittances from Ukraine amounted to $121,000. This is relatively small compared with the $3.745 billion worth of inflows from Europe and the $31.417-billion total from all over the world.

The Philippine government has assisted more than 400 Filipinos for repatriation from Ukraine as of March, based on data from the Department of Foreign Affairs. — Luz Wendy T. Noble