THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING Council (AMLC) will spearhead the crafting in the next two years of a national policy to combat dirty money and terrorist financing as part of the country’s compliance with global standards.
The AMLC Secretariat said it will lead an interagency group to craft a national strategy versus money laundering, which forms part of a fresh evaluation process that will check if systems in place are compliant with international rules set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“As part of our compliance with the FATF Forty Recommendations, there is a need for the country to adopt a National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Policy Strategy,” AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie B. Racela said in a set of operational guidelines issued on April 20.
The Philippines will undergo a third round of peer evaluations this year, following similar reviews done in 2003 and 2008.
Under the latest round of evaluations, existing laws, regulations and legal issuances will be reviewed against FATF standards, and will be classified as compliant, largely compliant, partially compliant, or non-compliant.
A poor rating due to non-compliance and low effectiveness of anti-money laundering systems will return the Philippines to monitoring for being a “high-risk” jurisdiction, the AMLC previously said.
Other agencies to be tapped for the review are the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Insurance Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport. Moreover, 48 law enforcement agencies and offices have been identified as part of the working group, which will also include the Department of Finance and its attached agencies, the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police, and the Supreme Court, among others.
Representatives of these agencies are expected to help craft a government-wide policy response “for the purpose of strengthening mechanisms to ensure compliance with international standards and effectively combat” the influx of illicit money.
The country had been kept out of the global watch list as of July 2017 for “significant progress” made in terms curbing dirty money transactions.
AMLC said most of the deficiencies identified in the second evaluations “have been addressed” through new laws. Republic Act No. 10927, signed into law last year, boosted defenses against dirty money by requiring casinos to report daily transactions worth at least P5 million to the AMLC.
National money laundering threat remained “high” in 2015-2016, according to the AMLC in December, while the US State Department described the Philippines as a “major” money laundering site in 2016. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez