MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED, June 19) – The country has beat the deadline that could have made sending money home difficult for overseas Filipino workers and delay business transactions to and from the country.
On Monday, June 18, President Aquino has signed into law two legislations against money laundering and terrorist financing ahead of the June 21 deadline of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), avoiding possible blacklisting.
The two measures — An Act To Further Strengthen The Anti-Money Laundering Law and The Terrorism Financing Prevention And Suppression Act of 2012 — will expand the government’s powers to investigate funds from illegal or criminal activity that are kept in banks and other institutions
, including the following: foreign exchange corporations, money changers, remittance centers and similar establishments, pre-need companies, casinos including those which operate on-line gaming, real estate agents, dealers in precious stones and metals, and several others..
Legislators ratified these measures before they went on recess last June 7. The amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) have faced strong opposition from some senators amid fears of invasion of privacy and political persecution. Authorities could already look into bank accounts of suspected money launderers without notifying the depositors.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda lauded these as “a major step forward in enhancing transparency and accountability.”
“Both will strengthen the capability of government to identify and prevent financial transactions related to illegal activities and those that undermine global security,” Lacierda said.
“These qualify as two out of 3 reforms needed for the country’s compliance with the international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),” he added.
“The newly signed law also re-institutes the rewards-and-incentives system that was originally in place under R.A. 9160—but which was later revoked by R.A. 9194—as well as expands the scope of crimes identified in the AMLA, among others,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday, June 19.
“Policy reform efforts such as this will help lower the Philippines’ investment risk profile in the international community, and consequently, create a better environment for trade and job-generating businesses,” Abad added. – Rappler.com