BSP planning to give special attention to OFWs from Libya

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 March) – As a way of helping Filipinos working in Libya, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is planning to require commercial banks to open a special window to exchange dinar, the Libyan currency, should demand spike up.

As of Monday, the first day when the BSP began exchanging the Libyan dinar for the local currency, it was able to issue P1.5 million to 150 OFWs.

BSP Vice Governor Diwa Gunigundo said on Tuesday here that the BSP “would enjoin all banks to open a dedicated window if the demand would become high”.

He expressed concerns though because several thousand OFWs have arrived from Libya, and that the BSP would have to monitor how fast they would clog the banks to exchange their dinars.

Each OFW, Gunigundo said, would be allowed to exchange only up to P10,000 worth of dinars.

The planned dedicated window, he added, would derive the “template on how we would conduct future foreign exchange procedure in situations like what happened in Libya.” He noted that political unrest is still brewing in other Middle East countries.

“The window should ensure that each OFW would avail of the facility only once, and it should properly document when the OFW arrived in the country,” Gunigundo said.

“We would also monitor the anecdotal reports that many OFWs have been uncomfortable with the commercial banks to exchange their notes, and so we must enjoin these banks to open a special window for them,” he said.

The BSP would exchange the dinar for P33 despite the uncertainty of the acceptability of the Libyan currency in the global banking industry. “We have to do this as service to our OFWs,” Gunigundo said.

He disclosed that the Central Bank of Libya, as well as the country’s bankers’ association, has not sent word on the fate of its currency.

“It’s not a gamble on our part [that it exchanged the dinar for the peso] but it’s our service to our OFWs in recognition to their valuable contribution to the economy,” he said in a forum here.

Gunigundo belied reports that dinars were being exchanged at only P7 even though the Davao regional chapter of the Philippine Nurses Association disclosed that some of its members who worked in Libya were disgruntled at having their Libyan notes exchanged for only P7. (MindaNews)