Philippines to boost campaign vs dirty money

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
Philippines to boost campaign vs dirty money
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said the government remains steadfast in its commitment to exit the gray list of the global dirty money watchdog before the January 2024 deadline.
Philstar.com / Jovannie Lambayan, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines continues to step up efforts to bolster the effectiveness of the country’s anti-money laundering, counterterrorism financing and counter proliferation financing (AML/CTF/CPF) regime to meet the deadline of Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said the government remains steadfast in its commitment to exit the gray list of the global dirty money watchdog before the January 2024 deadline.

President Marcos has issued Executive Order 33 and Memorandum Circular 37 showing the government’s unwavering commitment and setting the strategic direction for the country’s initiatives.

“Despite the FATF’s note on the lapse of January 2023 deadlines, it is crucial to highlight that the nation’s pertinent agencies remain dedicated to swiftly and effectively implementing the outstanding action plans,” the AMLC said.

The Philippines was included anew in the gray list or jurisdictions under increased monitoring in June 2021 after it failed to address the gaps in its regime to counter money laundering as well as terrorist and proliferation financing.

Since its inclusion, the Philippines has actively collaborated with the FATF and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) to enhance the country’s anti-money laundering measures.

The AMLC pointed out that key government agencies have rallied behind the directives from Malacañang by focusing on enhancing risk-based supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) as well as implementing AML/CTF controls to manage risks linked to casino junkets.

The access of law enforcement agencies to beneficial ownership information was also refined to ensure accuracy and timeliness.

Furthermore, the AMLC said that money laundering investigations and prosecutions were intensified in line with identified risks, while the identification, investigation and prosecution of terrorism financing cases were heightened.

“The Philippines has made leaps in becoming a strong international partner in money laundering and terrorism financing investigations, building a strong beneficial ownership information system in line with best practices, and establishing a robust DNFBP risk-based framework ahead of the global network,” it said.

“The relevant agencies’ commitment extends beyond timelines, focusing on establishing a robust and compliant AML/CTF framework in the Philippines,” the financial intelligence unit added.

The AMLC also urged the private sector to continue contributing toward efforts to exit FATF’s gray list.

“First, for covered persons - DNFBPs, registration with AMLC of lawyers, accountants, company service providers, dealers in precious metals and stones, and real estate brokers and developers is a critical component of an effective risk-based supervision of DNFBPs,” AMLC said.

It also encouraged all corporations to comply with the directives of the Securities and Exchange Commission to enroll with the commission’s Electronic Filing and Submission Tool (e-fast) and timely submission of the General Information Sheet with beneficial ownership declarations.

According to the AMLC, the Philippines values the guidance and recommendations from international bodies like the FATF and remains committed to continuous improvement and collaboration.

“By working hand in hand with our international partners and leveraging the collective strength of our national agencies, the Philippines continues its momentum in addressing its strategic deficiencies and further ensure the resilience and integrity of its financial landscape,” it said.

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