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March 16 deadline set for AMLC registration

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has given Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), as well as real estate developers and brokers, one more month to register with the electronic reporting system of the financial intelligence unit.

In an advisory, AMLC said real estate developers (REDs) and real estate brokers (REBs) as well as offshore gaming operators and OGO-service providers are now covered persons under Republic Act 11521 or the amended Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.

“These persons and entities are required to report covered and suspicious transactions to the AMLC within the period prescribed and for the threshold amount fixed by the law,” it said.

To file reports, Section 4, Rule 22 of the 2018 implementing rules and regulations (IRR) requires all covered persons to register with the AMLC’s electronic reporting system in accordance with the reporting guidelines.

“Registration with the AMLC is online and free,” it said.

Likewise, the IRR also provides that existing covered persons who are not yet registered would not be cited for non-registration, but need to apply for registration within 30 working days from effectivity of the guidelines.

“REDs, REBs, OGOs, and OGO-SPs must register with the AMLC by March 16, 2021,” AMLC said.

It warned non-registration is an administrative offense penalized under the rules of procedure on administrative cases.

“Failure to register would mean failure to electronically file covered and suspicious transaction reports with the AMLC, which is a money laundering offense,” it said.

Violators with assets worth P50 billion and above face a maximum penalty of P5 million, while companies with assets worth P10 million and below need to pay between P10,000 and a maximum of P500,000.

President Duterte signed the law amending the 20-year old AMLA on Jan. 29, barely beating the Feb. 1 deadline set by Paris-based dirty money watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Under the strengthened AMLA, all entities regulated by the state-run Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) particularly POGOs need to report each cash transaction worth P5 million, while REDs and REBs are required to notify the financial intelligence unit for each transaction worth P7.5 million and above.

AMLC recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine National Police (PNP) as it continues to strengthen its partnership with law enforcement agencies to help the Philippines avoid being included in the gray list of the FATF International Cooperation Review Group (FATF-ICRG).

“This allows the PNP to share with the AMLC the names of persons of interest, as well as other documents in its possession. This MOA strengthens the feedback mechanism between our agencies to enhance our cooperation,” Racela told The STAR.

The MOA also features collaboration in the exchange of studies, research, and information on current, new, and emerging trends and typologies in money laundering and terrorism financing; and to undertake capacity-building measures to efficiently address money laundering, terrorism financing, and unlawful activities in the country.

The Philippines is in danger of being included in the gray list and facing sanctions from Paris-based dirty money watchdog after it was placed under a 12-month observation period by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).

Racela said the country has until April to effectively implement the amended AMLA and RA 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 to avoid being included in the list of countries with significant strategic deficiencies in countering money laundering and terrorist financing.

The country was blacklisted by the FATF in 2000 for failing to address “dirty” money issues, paving the way for the enactment of AMLA in 2001. It narrowly avoided being placed on blacklist in 2012 as it criminalized terrorist financing and pursued quicker freezing of suspect accounts after being subsequently removed from the blacklist in February 2005.

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