Officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council left Saturday for Paris to convince the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove the Philippines from its the “gray list” of nations considered non-compliant with global anti-money laundering standards.
The council members brought with them a copy of Republic Act No. 10365, also known as an “Act Strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Law,” which was signed by President Aquino just last Friday.
The FATF will have its general assembly in Paris from Feb. 20 to 22.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Malacañang spokewoman Abigail Valte disclosed that the AMLC delegation would “show” the new law to FATF as proof of the Philippines’ “compliance to the points in its action plan” aimed at impeding the flow of dirty money in and out of the country.
“We’re very hopeful that, with the passage of this particular law, the FATF will see that we are really serious in our commitment to fight money laundering. And, in fact, the officials of AMLC are leaving this afternoon to be able to attend the meeting with the FATF,” said Valte.
It was Valte who disclosed that RA 10365 had been signed by Mr. Aquino. She was hopeful that the law would shield the country from being blacklisted by the FATF.
“Yes, this is the third law required to keep us off the FATF blacklist. The first two were passed last year,” she said.
A blacklist could mean difficulties for overseas Filipinos sending money home as more documentation would be required from them as a result of the country’s blacklisting.
At its general assembly, FATF is expected to review, and subsequently release, a report on various countries’ compliance with the global fight against money laundering.
Asked whether RA 10365 had enough teeth to exact accountability from those institutions and businesses accepting dirty money, Valte said, “We are hopeful that the reaction of FATF to our (amendatory) laws would be positive.”
Simply put, the law strengthens the AMLC council by requiring foreign exchange establishments, real estate dealers, and jewelry and precious metal dealers to report any suspicious transactions.
Valte said RA 10365 was the third installment of amendatory laws passed by Congress that were required by FATF to prevent the country from being blacklisted again.
The other two are: RA 10167 ((An Act to Further Strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Law) which, according to Valte, gives AMLC the power to scrutinize “covered transactions that are deemed suspicious without notifying the depositors;” and RA 10168 (Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012), which criminalizes terrorist financing activities.
Both were signed by Mr. Aquino on June 18, 2012.