Home Banking & Finance AMLC issues freeze orders vs 16 groups designated as terrorists

AMLC issues freeze orders vs 16 groups designated as terrorists

THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Council has issued freeze orders on the assets of groups designated as terrorists. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Council (AMLC) ordered banks, real estate brokers and developers, and government agencies to immediately carry out freeze orders on accounts and assets of 16 newly designated groups by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).

Through AMLC Resolution No. TF-50, Series of 2022 posted on its website, the “dirty money” watchdog said the orders should be implemented immediately against organizations designated as terrorists by the ATC’s Resolution No. 28 (2022) dated Jan. 26.

The orders cover funds and assets of 16 groups including the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Manggagawa or Federation of Labor Organizations, Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid or National Association of Peasants, Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan or Patriotic Movement of New Women, Kabataang Makabayan or Patriotic Youth, Katipunan ng Gurong Makabayan or Association of Patriotic Teachers, Makabayang Samahan Pangkalusugan or Patriotic Health Association, and Liga ng Agham para sa Bayan or League of Scientists for the People.

Other groups that were also designated as terrorists include Lupon ng Manananggol Para sa Bayan or Committee of Lawyers for the People, Artista at Manunulat Para sa Sambayanan or Artists and Writers for the People, Makabayang Kawaning Pilipino or Patriotic Government Employees, Revolutionary Organization of Overseas Filipinos and their Families, Christians for National Liberation, Cordillera People’s Democratic Front, Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization, and the Revolutionary Organization of Lumads.

The AMLC told covered institutions and relevant government agencies to immediately submit a written return for freezing the funds and assets of the designated groups.

Covered institutions are ordered to freeze the property or funds owned or controlled by the subject of designation. The AMLC said this is not limited to those that are directly related or can be tied to a particular terrorist act, plot, or threat.

Relevant government agencies like the Land Transportation Office, Land Registration Authority, Registry of Deeds, Maritime Industry Authority, and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines were likewise alerted of the freeze order.

Assets that are wholly or jointly owned by the designated persons, as well as those generated from funds of the designated are also expected to be frozen.

Property or funds of persons and entities that are acting with the direction of designated groups are likewise covered by the freeze order.

“All covered persons are mandated to submit as Suspicious Transaction Report all previous transactions of the designated persons within five days from effectivity of this order,” the AMLC said.

The dirty money watchdog said persons and organizations that have been designated may avail of remedies to challenge this.

The Anti-Terror Act of 2020, which provided for the creation of the ATC, was meant to strengthen measures versus terrorist financing and dirty money. However, several petitions are pending before the Philippine Supreme Court questioning the law’s threat to freedom of expression and human rights.

Last year, the AMLC said the Financial Action Task Force will closely monitor urgent compliance by covered persons to freeze orders after the country was included in the global dirty money watchdog’s “gray list” in June 2021.

Government officials hope the country will exit the gray list by January 2023. — L.W.T. Noble