SENATOR Grace Poe has asked the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to show results in the implementation of the country’s anti-money laundering law as the legislative branch works hard to pass amendments to prevent the Philippines from getting on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list.
The Philippines passed its first Anti-Money Laundering Law in 2001 to avoid being put in the FATF’s blacklist of money laundering havens that would have hiked the cost of sending remittances by overseas Filipino workers.
“The country’s financial experts want us to treat this as a form of national economic emergency, the same way we treated the pandemic as a national health emergency,” Poe said.
“Note that we are not only required to pass these amendments but also to demonstrate tangible and positive progress in our anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regime,” Poe added.
The Asia Pacific Group’s October 2019 Mutual Evaluation Report on the Philippines had said there are significant money laundering risks in the Philippines’ casino sector and that money service businesses have been used by criminal elements in drug trafficking and sex trafficking. Virtual assets must now also be taken into consideration.
The report had noted that investigations and prosecutions for money laundering in the Philippines is low considering the country’s risk profile.
“We are treating this with urgency and caution. We don’t want our overseas Filipino workers to bear the brunt of a grey listing,” Poe said.
Higher remittance costs mean less money for OFW families to spend here. This will weigh on consumer spending and take a toll on the economy that is already being hurt by the pandemic.
At of the end of August, the BSP has reported a net outflow of $3.889 billion in foreign portfolio investments.
“The benefits of addressing the problem of money laundering goes beyond the FATF’s grey list. Ordinary Filipinos will significantly benefit from such if anti-money laundering efforts can show results in terms of confiscating proceeds from graft and corruption, drug trafficking, and other predicate crimes. The AMLC should demonstrate its benefits to us while we in the legislative do our part,” Poe said.