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MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang issued a memorandum on Monday, October 16, directing concerned government bodies to urgently implement its national anti-money laundering strategy to meet international standards.
Memorandum Circular No. 37 tasks the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to report to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin’s office by December 8 the status of the National Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorism Financing and Counter-Proliferation Financing Strategy (NACS) 2023 to 2027.
The AMLC is also directed to lead a working group that would formulate guidelines on the enactment of the memo circular.
The Presidential Communications Office released the memo to the media on Wednesday, October 18.
Why did Malacañang release this memo?
Despite that, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – a global money laundering watchdog – placed the Philippines on its gray list in 2021 for failing to address gaps in its crackdown on money laundering and terrorism financing.
The watchdog essentially affirmed an evaluation report conducted in 2019 by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering, a regional inter-governmental body in which the Philippines is a member.
The FATF gave the Philippines a January 2023 deadline to get out of that list, and the country was later granted a one-year extension, or until January 2024, due to the still numerous outstanding deficiencies in anti-money laundering controls.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said earlier this year that FATF flagged the low number of cases and convictions against money launderers.
In July, Marcos issued Executive Order 33, amending Duterte’s order, and adjusting the NACS from the period of 2018 to 2022, to the period of 2023 to 2027.
Memo Circular No. 37 says the APG is expected to evaluate the Philippines’ anti-money laundering record in 2026. – Rappler.com