MANILA, Philippines—The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) wants the Philippines to amend anew its recently enhanced law against money laundering, insisting that casinos should be included on the list of entities required to report suspicious transactions to regulators.
The FATF, which concluded plenary meetings on Friday, decided to keep the Philippines on the list of countries that have made significant progress in fighting money laundering and off its blacklist.
The influential body however, said the Philippines still had to address the particular “deficiency” in the new law if it wanted to be declared a country that was fully cooperating in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
“… The FATF has concerns that the casino sector in the Philippines continues to be unregulated for AML (antimoney laundering) and CFT (countering the financing of terrorism) purposes and is still not subject to AML/CFT requirements, and urges the Philippines to promptly and effectively address this outstanding deficiency,” the agency said in one of its statements on the plenary meetings.
On Feb. 15, President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Congress-ratified measure putting more teeth into the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla). The revised legislative measure requires even money changers, dealers of jewelry and precious metals, real estate companies, and preneed firms to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) suspicious transactions for purposes of catching money launderers and terror financiers.
Previously, only banks, other financial institutions and some professionals were required to report such transactions to the AMLC.
Despite earlier recommendations to include casinos, Congress ended up excluding them from those required to report suspicious transactions because of concerns from lobbyists that the inclusion could discourage people from going to casinos.
The FATF, however, said that including casinos in the reporting requirement was crucial for having a truly progressive antimoney laundering and antiterrorist financing environment.