Gov’t agencies ordered to strengthen efforts vs money laundering

MALACAÑANG ordered all relevant government agencies to implement plans and programs in the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing, as the Philippines seeks to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “gray list” by January 2024.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Executive Order No. 33, which updated the National Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorism Financing, and Counter-Proliferation Financing Strategy (NACS) for 2023-2027.
The order also expanded the national committee’s coverage to include activities related to combatting proliferation financing.
Proliferation financing involves raising or moving funds and other economic assets for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“The adoption of an updated NACS will strengthen existing measures to improve the effectiveness of the country’s anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing and counter-proliferation financing (AML/CTF/CPF) regime and allow the Philippines to exit the FATF gray list,” according to the order.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) welcomed the executive order, saying this shows the government’s “strong high-level political commitment” to strengthen efforts against “dirty money.”
“The NACS 2023-2027 provides strategic direction and coordinated efforts in addressing the remaining International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) action plan items to exit the FATF gray list,” the AMLC said.
Last month, the FATF kept the Philippines under its gray list of countries under increased monitoring for money laundering and terrorism financing risk.
“All relevant government agencies, including supervisors, regulators, law enforcement/intelligence agencies and prosecutors are directed to formulate and implement relevant strategy plans and programs to execute the NACS 2023-2027, and to swiftly implement the ICRG action plans,” the AMLC said.
The strategy seeks to address the Philippines’ deficiencies identified in international AML/CTF assessments; boost mechanisms to identify, investigate, and prosecute terrorism financing and money laundering; enhance and implement the framework on proliferation financing of weapons of mass destruction.
It also seeks to promote transparency and ensure access to beneficial ownership information by competent authorities; enhance risk-based supervision of financial institutions and designated nonfinancial businesses and professions; and promote AML/CTF awareness of government agencies and the public.
The order expands the NACS which was first adopted by the Duterte administration.
The Philippines has been in the FATF’s gray list since June 2021, due to strategic deficiencies in countering money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.
The Marcos administration recently included bills seeking to relax bank deposit secrecy rules and to regulate the use of financial accounts on the list of priority legislative measures targeted for Congress’ approval by December. — K.A.T.Atienza