The Anti-Money Laundering Council pushed for amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 and the Human Security Act of 2007 to raise the country’s level of technical compliance with the Financial Action Task Force standards.
FATF is an intergovernmental organization established by G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering–Joint Group is set to review in the fourth quarter of 2020 if the Philippines moved toward implementing the Mutual Evaluation Report’s recommended actions, most of which are encapsulated within the AMLC’s proposed amendments to the AMLA and the HSA.
AMLC said the failure to implement key recommended actions would result in the Philippines automatic referral to the International Co-operation Review Group or to “gray-listing.”
The FATF requires all countries to notify their financial institutions of “gray-listed” countries and to consider measures to effectively manage the risks of transactions with individuals and entities from those listed countries.
AMLC said in a statement the amendments would “address the deficiencies identified in the Mutual Evaluation report middle of this year.”
The Mutual Evaluation assesses a country’s levels of technical compliance with international anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing standards and the effectiveness of the country’s existing AML/CTF mechanisms.
Salient provisions of the AMLC’s proposed amendments to the AMLA or Republic Act No. 9160 are the inclusion, as covered persons, of real estate developers, brokers and sales agents to perform obligations of customer due diligence, record-keeping and suspicious transaction reporting.
Other proposed amendments are the inclusion of additional predicate offenses to money laundering such as certain tax crimes and proliferation financing by managing the trade in strategic or dual-use goods, which are materials that may be utilized in manufacturing nuclear weapons.
AMLC also proposed the expansion of investigative powers of the AMLC, the inclusion of the authority to implement targeted financial sanctions related to terrorism, terrorism financing, proliferation or proliferation financing on designated persons and entities identified in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the prohibition of the issuance of injunctive relief against AMLC actions.
It said such provisions would ensure the operational independence of the AMLC and its secretariat.
AMLC said that relative to Senate Bill 1083, or An Act Amending Certain Provisions of RA No. 9372, its proposed additions include the designation of individuals as terrorists; criminalization of the financing of travel for purposes of committing terrorist acts; and criminalization of foreign terrorist fighters.
Other proposals are the inclusion of the definition of “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction” as this will lay down the framework for the implementation of targeted financial sanctions related to proliferation financing; strengthening the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to prevent, detect and combat terrorism; and expedition of the legal process for obtaining data related to terrorism and terrorism financing.