SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has expressed his support for proposed measures that aim to strengthen anti-money laundering efforts in the Philippines in compliance with the legal standards set by concerned international bodies.
During a Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies hearing on Wednesday, Go echoed the calls of President Rodrigo Duterte and Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to strengthen efforts against money laundering in the country through the proposed Senate Bill 1412 and its counterpart House Bill 6174.
Go noted that Duterte has certified the proposed measure as urgent.
“I echo the President’s call to comply with legal standards for anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing, as established by relevant international bodies,” Go said during the hearing.
The proposed measures seek to strengthen Republic Act 9160 or the “Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001”, making the country compliant with the legal standards set by international bodies in addressing money laundering and the funding of terrorist activities.
Go cited that just last March, the Bureau of Customs confirmed that $370 million in dirty money entered the country. According to the DOF, two groups allegedly laundered around $167.97 million and $200.24 million, respectively.
In response, Dominguez ordered the BOC to work with the Anti-Money Laundering Council in investigating the entry into the country of dirty money.
In the hearing, Go also expressed his support for the inclusion of tax crimes and violation of the Strategic Trade and Management Act, which indirectly includes proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as predicate to money laundering.
Moreover, Go said that the swift passage of the measure will also benefit overseas Filipino workers.
“Possible na sila po ang direktang maapektuhan dahil kapag hindi po na-amend ang ating Anti-Money Laundering Law, maaari pong ma grey list ang Pilipinas ng Financial Action Task Force at tumaas ang cost ng remittance rates para sa ating mga OFWs,” he said.
“Nararapat lamang po na maglaan tayo ng sapat na proteksyon upang mapangalagaan ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan. Our campaign has always been against criminality and corruption aside from the war on illegal drugs,” he added.
Ending his statement, Go emphasized that strengthening laws against money laundering will boost the government’s fight against criminality.
“Our campaign has always been against criminality and corruption aside from the war on illegal drugs. Amidst the continuing pandemic that has hampered, not just the economy but also the lives of our brothers and sisters, criminality and corruption have become more important issues that we must take seriously,” said Go.
“At the time when our people are experiencing unprecedented hardships, every single centavo counts. Make no mistake, tutuluyan talaga namin ni Presidente ang mga manloloko at magnanakaw,” he added.###