Philippine Regulators Seek Tougher Anti-Money Laundering Laws

Various Philippine bank notes. (Photo: Getty Images)

By Siegfrid Alegado

Philippines — Financial regulators are pushing for legal changes in order to avoid the Philippines being placed on a global monitoring list for countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorism financing controls.

The government needs to implement the changes by October or risk being placed on a “grey” list by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council said Tuesday.

That would impose additional restrictions on international banking transactions involving Philippine nationals, the AMLC said. It can also be a prelude to being placed on the FATF blacklist, which involves more serious penalties.

In 2012, the Philippines narrowly missed being blacklisted after it criminalized terrorist financing and allowed quicker freezing of suspect accounts. Since then, the country has tightened up on various areas, including transactions by casinos and jewelry traders.

Among the other legal changes sought by the AMLC:

  • Expanding the body’s investigative powers

  • Requiring real estate developers, brokers and sales agents to perform customer due diligence, record keeping and suspicious transaction reporting

  • Bringing tax crimes and trade in materials used for nuclear weapons under the anti-money laundering framework

  • Implementing targeted financial sanctions for terrorism and terrorism financing

  • Criminalizing financing of terrorist travel and of foreign terrorist fighters under the nation’s Human Security Act


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