Senate pushed on deadline for amended launder law
- Marvin Sy () - May 8, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Teofisto Guingona III has reiterated the need to pass pending measures that would amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

Guingona urged his colleagues to pass Senate Bills 3009, 3123 and 3127 by the end of the month for the Philippines to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

He said amendments to the AMLA should be presented to the FATF when it holds plenary session this June.    

The senator said the country could not afford being placed in the FATF blacklist, adding this would have significant impact on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Guingona explained that FATF member-countries have imposed strict procedures on financial transactions coming from and going to blacklisted countries.         

This would result in delayed OFWs’ remittances, higher charges and intermediation costs on financial transactions of Philippine banks and citizens and thorough scrutiny of Philippine-based transactions, among others.

“The first to feel this would be the OFW community. Time may be running out on our bid to avert the negative consequences of a blacklisting by countries who are members of the Financial Action Task Force,” Guingona said. Malacañang earlier urged the Senate to pass the pending bills aimed at amending Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001. SB 3127 deals with the suppression of terrorist financing while SB 3009 would introduce a new provision on ex-parte applications for bank inquiries by the council.

SB 3123, on the other hand, is meant to expand the coverage of the AMLA to several institutions and individuals, including foreign exchange corporations, money changers, remittance and transfer companies, pre-need firms, casinos, real estate agents and dealers of precious metals and stones.         

It would also expand the list of unlawful activities to include terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism, bribery, fraud and illegal transactions, malversation of public funds, forgeries and counterfeiting and human trafficking.

Guingona noted that the efforts to amend the AMLA were not solely to avoid blacklisting by the FATF.                

He stressed that the Philippines is a sovereign nation so “no one can force us to do anything.”

“However, we have the obligation to ensure that our laws address public interest and that these are strong enough to prevent our country from being used as a haven for money launderers and terrorists,” he said. “When we signed international commitments against money laundering and terrorism, we committed to establish the proper legal framework to support such commitments,” he added.

AMLA ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING ACT FATF FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE GUINGONA MALACA MONEY REPUBLIC ACT SENATE BILLS TEOFISTO GUINGONA
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