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PHL’s FATF upgrade good for OFWs, economy -BSP

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The recent upgrade of the Philippines to gray list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will benefit not only the country but the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and the economy as well.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., who also chairs the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), explained that “avoiding the FATF black list is positive news for the Philippines particularly for our overseas workers and our economy, as financial transactions of countries in the FATF black list are subjected to additional reporting requirements and more stringent inspections that delay remittances and raise service fees.”

“In some cases, financial institutions stop transactions with countries in the FATF black list,” he pointed out.

Tetangco reported the upgrade in the country’s standing in the FATF list to President Benigno Aquino III in a letter last Friday night.

Improvement of the country’s classification on FATF list was made after the enactment of Republic Act 10167 or the strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering Law; and Republic Act. No. 10168, which criminalizes terrorism financing as a stand-alone offense.

Both of which were earlier certified by the President as urgent measures.

In 2000, FATF blacklisted the country on account of insufficient efforts against money laundering and lack of law that will penalize terrorist financing thus, the creation of AMLA.

In February 2005, the country was removed from the blacklist but was placed on the gray list in November 2008 due to loopholes in anti-money laundering efforts.

However, FATF downgraded the country to the dark gray list last February and warned of possible blacklisting unless the government puts in stronger measures to curb money laundering and fight terrorist financing.

Tetangco said FATF’s assessment, made during its Plenary Meeting in Rome, is a proof that the country is committed in implementing measures against money laundering and terrorist activities.

Countries in gray list are those that are assessed to have been “making sufficient progress in the global campaign against money launderers and terrorists”.

While those in the dark gray list are countries that are “not making sufficient progress against money laundering and terrorist financing.”

FATF is an international organization that sets the standards and monitors implementation of measures for fighting money laundering, terrorist financing and other threats to the integrity of the global financial system.

The central bank chief, on the other hand, cited that amid the upgrade to the gray list, the country remains to have “strategic deficiencies”.

The organization thus “advised the Philippines to enact the pending legislative amendments to our anti-money laundering law that, among others, extend the coverage of reporting entities, provide a broader definition of money laundering and increase the number of predicate crimes to include bribery, malversation of public funds, human trafficking, tax evasion and environmental crimes.”

“The Philippines will continue to contribute and support the global efforts against money laundering and terrorist financing in keeping with its commitment to good governance and upholding peace and order,” he added.

By Joann Villanueva-PNA




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