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Locsin: I smashed New York banks’ attempts to corner remittances

Pia Lee Brago - The Philippine Star
Locsin: I smashed New York banksâ attempts to corner remittances
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in his office at this photo uploaded by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Facebook on July 2, 2020.
Interaksyon / Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines via Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has thwarted an attempt by New York banks to corner Filipino remittances on grounds that these could be a source of terrorist financing.

In a speech during the International Day of Family Remittances on Tuesday, Locsin said smashing the banks’ attempt was the first thing he did as Philippine ambassador to the United Nations prior to his appointment as secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“In fact, it is big banking that is a major source of terrorist financing, second only to drugs, human and arms trafficking. The New York bankers were lying again and I told them so,” Locsin said.

He said it is a repeat of the same scam the banks tried to foist during the administration of the late president Corazon Aquino in Switzerland, but they kicked the scheme.

“If there is going to be any regulation or control, it has to be Filipino and totally transparent,” Locsin said.

“Enhancing the Filipino regulatory framework for the digital transformation of financial services and networks have made them more efficient and reliable, remittances are no longer lost. They have given migrant workers and their families more options to send and receive remittances at very competitive rates,” he added.

The International Day of Family Remittances is a tribute to migrant workers, whose income is vital to the economic lifeline of their families and a major source of foreign currency.

During the outbreak of the pandemic, Locsin said remittances became more essential as these shielded families, communities and countries from the crippling economy as a result of health crisis and the economic shocks that followed.

In 2021, the World Bank reported a total of $605 billion in remittances, an increase of 17 percent from the total remittances recorded in the 2020.

Of the amount, the Philippines contributed $34.9 billion, making the country the fourth largest destination for remittances in 2021.

Locsin thanked Israel and Germany for “taking the treatment of migrant workers to a new high.”

In another development, Locsin and Australian Foreign Minister Penelope Wong reaffirmed the ties between two countries.

During a video call, Wong said that Australia’s ties with the Philippines are vital in dealing with problems in the Southeast Asian region, especially in upholding international law.

The DFA said in a statement that Wong expressed appreciation to the contributions and personal commitment of Locsin in strengthening Philippine-Australia relations.

Locsin highlighted the strengths of the bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said the Philippines looks forward to working on the draft joint declaration for elevating relations to a strategic partnership this year.

The Philippines and Australia marked 75 years of diplomatic ties in 2021.

REMITTANCES

TEODORO LOCSIN JR.

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