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Poe: Economy to gain from tougher AMLA

SENATOR Grace Poe said the people and the economy will be the beneficiaries of a tougher Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), which was approved on second reading on Wednesday night.

Senate Bill 1945 or the proposed Strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Act, authored by Poe, contains amendments to the law that aims to curb money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, said the approved version was a product of the senators’ well-studied and thorough deliberation of the measure.

Preserving the integrity of the financial system will lead to a suitable investment climate, which can contribute in tangible ways to create jobs and other livelihood opportunities,” she said.

I believe in the intention of this law but I also admit with the help of our colleagues that we were able to cure a few things that might have been too much of an imposition on us,” Poe stressed.

The measure was crafted as a response to the key findings of the mutual evaluation report or MER which evaluated the Philippines’ compliance with the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering.

If we fail to act now, the FATF Asia Pacific Joint Group or AP-JG will place the Philippines in the so-called ‘grey list’ along with countries like Albania, Pakistan, Panama, Syria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe,” Poe earlier said.

Being on this list is a very strong signal to market participants and regulators globally. It has implications which we must avoid as much as we can, especially during the time of a global pandemic,” she explained.

The senator earlier said the “enhanced due diligence” to be imposed on the Philippines could translate to higher costs of remittance for the millions of overseas Filipino workers sending money to their families.

Being under tight scrutiny, Filipino nationals and businesses that transact with AP-JG members could also face additional cost, paperwork, higher interest rates and processing fees.

The Philippines will also likely incur a “reputational risk” that would certainly result in reduced investor and lender confidence.