MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines was able to stay off a global money laundering blacklist after passing reforms to combat illegal movement of money, the Palace announced Saturday, June 23.
Even better, the country was upgraded by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) from the “dark grey” to “grey” list, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement.
She said Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) chairman and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco reported this to President Aquino in a letter.
“The FATF took notice of the passage of key legislative reforms certified as urgent by the President,” she said.
She was referring to two bills passed by Congress before sessions ended early this month, authorizing AMLC to look into suspect bank accounts without informing the owners, and criminalizing terrorist financing.
Congress however failed to act on a third measure that will expand the list of crimes linked to money laundering and the list of institutions that must report to the AMLC, putting the Philippines in risk of joining the FATF blacklist.
Ending up on the blacklist would make it difficult for local banks to transact overseas, and for Filipinos working and living abroad to send money to their families at home.
Being on the grey list, on the other hand, means the country is making “sufficient progress” in meeting international standards for fighting money laundering, said Valte.
“Transparency and accountability are among the foremost guiding principles of the Aquino administration. While we recognize that more needs to be done to strengthen our existing measures, we take the satisfaction expressed by the FATF as affirmation of the institutional reforms we have constantly advocated.” – Rappler.com