Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00
The Philippines’ bid to help eradicate money laundering activities worldwide will further gain strength through heightened cooperation with other countries as well as proposals to improve the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco told members of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units that the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which he serves in an ex-officio capacity, is now in the process of signing at least four memorandum of understanding (MOU) with other countries this year to boost cooperation with its counterparts overseas.
The upcoming MOUs is in addition to the 30 already signed upon AMLC’s inclusion in the Egmont Group on June 29, 2005.
“Parallel to these efforts, we are actively pursuing legislative amendments to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Act and to criminalize terrorist financing as a stand-alone offense,” he said in his opening speech for Egmont Group’s 2012 Working Group and Committee Meetings onThursday at a Makati City hotel.
Tetangco stressed the country’s commitment “in eradicating the twin evils of money laundering and terrorist financing”, thus, for last year alone AMLC received 97 requests of other FIUs and international bodies and asked assistance for 459 request.
He cited that “there will always be criminals and terrorists in different parts of the globe (and) the Philippines is no exception.”
He said location and modus operandi of criminals and terrorists “are constantly changing” so accordingly “our global efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing will always be a work in progress” as criminals will “always try to look for our weakest link.”
“We have to be alert, committed and most of all, united,” he said.
Relatively, the central bank chief said President Benigno. Aquino III has certified as urgent the passage of the proposed legislative amendments on AMLA.
“We look forward to the enactment of these amendments to make the Philippines fully compliant with the international standards set by the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), the UN Conventions, and other agencies in combating money laundering and terrorist financing,” he added.
FATF earlier put the Philippines in the blacklist of money-laundering havens, otherwise known as “non-cooperative countries or territories” (NCCTs), due to inadequate law to fight money laundering.
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