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June 23, 2024

Global dirty money watchdog keeps Philippines in list of countries under increased monitoring

Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has retained the Philippines in the list of countries under heightened monitoring as the economic managers continued to fail to address strategic deficiencies to counter the proliferation of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Although the Philippines has made progress since it was included in the “gray list” last June, the country continues to enhance its anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) frameworks.

“Since June 2021, when the Philippines made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and Asia Pacific Group to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime, the Philippines has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, by developing and implementing guidance on delistings and the unfreezing of assets for targeted financial sanctions related to proliferation financing,” the FATF said.

The global dirty money watchdog said the Philippines should work to implement its action plan by demonstrating that effective risk-based supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions is occurring. It need also demonstrate that supervisors are using AML/CFT controls to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets.

The FATF added the country should implement the new registration requirements for money or value true service and applying sanctions to unregistered and illegal remittance operators and at the same time enhance and streamlining law enforcement agencies access to beneficial owner information and taking steps to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date.

Furthermore, the body said the Philippines should be able to demonstrate an increase in the use of financial intelligence and an increase in money laundering investigations and prosecutions in line with risk as well as an increase in the identification, investigation and prosecution of terrorist financing cases.

According to the FATF, the country should also take appropriate measures with respect to the non-profit organizations and at the same time enhance the effectiveness of the targeted financial sanctions framework for both terrorism and proliferation financing.

Anti Money Laundering Council chairman and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno is confident the Philippines would be removed from the gray list on or before January 2023 as the country has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes.