BSP vows to exit from FATF ‘grey list’ as soon as possible

·2 min read

PARIS-BASED global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has included the Philippines in its jurisdictions under increased monitoring.

According to its website, when the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, “it means the country has committed to swiftly resolve the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring.” This list is often externally referred to as the “grey list.”

In response, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) called for a “whole-of-country” approach to exit from the list.

“We should take this key development as an additional impetus to work together and adopt a whole-of-country approach to achieve the main goal of further intensifying the country’s legal framework and implementation mechanisms to effectively fight money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the BSP said in a statement.

The BSP said amid the pandemic, the Philippines has worked vigorously to address the deficiencies identified in the 2018 Mutual Evaluation.

The central bank said it wants to pursue initiatives to strengthen the banking system’s framework and defenses against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation of financing risks such as by enhancing the risk-based anti-money laundering (AML)/countering terrorism and proliferation financing supervisory framework, conducting regular and targeted awareness sessions for supervised financial institutions, issuing necessary regulations, reminders, guidance papers and AML newsletters, performing thematic reviews and updating of the sectoral risk assessment, among others.

The FATF does not call for the application of enhanced due diligence measures to be applied to jurisdictions in the grey list but encourages its members to take into account this information in their risk analysis.

“With our concerted and strategic efforts, we hope that the Philippines will achieve the target period to exit from the list the soonest time possible,” it said.

Steven Yu, president of Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the central bank targets to delist the country in one and half years.

“Being classified under intensified monitoring does not affect our general standing among prospective investors based on present circumstances,” he said.

In 2012, the country avoided a blacklist status from the FATF and instead got an upgrade for taking significant steps to improve its laws against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The country was upgraded from the “dark grey list” to its “grey list” nine years ago. (JOB)