THE CENTRAL BANK has ordered lenders to submit reports on accounts tied to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as well as those linked to Islamic extremist groups following freeze orders issued by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Circular Letter No. CL-2021-007 signed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier requires banks to submit suspicious transaction reports on all previous transactions of the designated persons, organizations, associations or groups of persons, within five days from receipt of the Sanctions Freeze Order.

Covered institutions also need to send a written return to the AMLC detailing information about the account, identities of those within the freeze order as well as the ground for identification for related accounts.

This is in line with the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 10168 or the Terrorism Financing and Prevention Act (TFPSA) of 2012.

The BSP said institutions that will continue to deal directly or indirectly with property or funds that they know or have reasonable ground to believe are owned or controlled by designated persons under the freeze order will be scrutinized.

Lenders that will make property, funds, or financial services available to designated individuals and groups will likewise face consequences.

“[They] shall be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law pursuant to the TFPSA,” the circular said.
The AMLC last month issued a freeze order for accounts, funds, and properties that are related, owned, or controlled directly or indirectly by the CPP/NPA.

The watchdog also served a similar order for assets and bank accounts of 16 Islamic extremist groups it had identified as terrorists. These include organizations such as Maute Group, the Islamic State East Asia, Maute ISIS, Grupong ISIS, Grupo ISIS, Khilafah Islamiyah, Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao, and Ansharul Khilafah.

The freeze order also covers international groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Southeast Asia, Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik, Dawlatul Islamiyyah Waliyatul Mashriq, and IS East Asia Division.

The AMLC’s move follows the signing of Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 in July, which granted the agency powers to freeze the assets of people and groups designated as terrorists. — L.W.T. Noble