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AMLC eases registration of POGOs, realtors
The guidelines were eased as real estate developers and brokers as well as POGOs only have until March 16 to register with the AMLC. These entities are now covered persons under the amended Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 that took effect on Jan. 30.
AFP/Marcus Erricson, File photo

AMLC eases registration of POGOs, realtors

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - February 28, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has relaxed the registration guidelines for Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) as well as real estate developers and brokers.

The guidelines were eased as real estate developers and brokers as well as POGOs only have until March 16 to register with the AMLC. These entities are now covered persons under the amended Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 that took effect on Jan. 30.

For ease of registration, AMLC said the real estate developers and POGOs are required to submit articles of incorporation or partnership as well as secretary’s certificate or board or partnership resolution designating the compliance officer.

On the other hand, real estate brokers need to submit certificate of registration or license from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The AMLC will issue provisional certificate or registration once the aforementioned requirements are completed. Documents are required to be uploaded in the online registration system.

According to the AMLC, real estate brokers, developers and POGOs are required to report covered and suspicious transactions within the period prescribed and for the threshold amount fixed by the law.

Under the law, 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.

Non-registration is an administrative offense penalized under the rules of procedure on administrative cases.

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 last Jan. 29, barely beating the Feb. 1 deadline set by Paris-based dirty money watchdog Financial Action Task Force.

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.

The Philippines is in danger of being included in the gray list and facing sanctions from the FATF after it was placed under a 12-month observation period by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

The country has until April to effectively implement the amended AMLA and 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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