UK diplomat urges PH to amend anti-money-laundering law

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02:10 PM December 1st, 2012

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By: Tarra Quismundo, December 1st, 2012 02:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines—Britain is urging the Philippines to pass reforms that will strengthen the country’s anti-money laundering law, saying the proposed legislation would help plug corruption and funding for terrorists.

Steph Lysaght, First Secretary of the British Embassy in Manila, made the call as he cited how the government’s efforts to stop corruption have helped generate investor interest into the country.

“By ensuring that proceeds of corruption are discovered and recovered, the Philippines will be able to better deliver public services. Additionally, blocking access to funds for terrorist activities leads to greater peace and security not just in the Philippines but the Asia Pacific region,” Lysaght said.

The UK diplomat made the statement at a British-funded training course on the implementation of stronger anti-money laundering measures held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex from November 26 to 29.

The training gathered Philippine officials from agencies involved in enforcing the Anti-Money Laundering Act, from detecting and investigating violations to prosecuting known violators.

The International Governance and Risk Institute or GovRisk, a UK non-governmental organization that conducts international training on combating financial crimes, administered the training that touched on “proliferation financing, forensic investigation and national risk assessment,” the UK Embassy said.

The training was held as the Philippines moved closer to passing amendments to the AMLA, a measure certified as urgent by President Aquino  and is up for deliberation in Congress.

“I know that everyone is waiting for the passage of the third and final amendment to the anti-money laundering act. We hope that it will be passed. The anti-corruption initiatives are a big part of why there is increased interest from companies to work in the Philippines,” Lysaght said in opening the training course.

Laundered money accounts for roughly 2.7 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, BSP Governor Amando Tetangko said in remarks at the event, according to the UK Embassy.

The GovRisk training course is also conducted in Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia, the UK Embassy said.

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