Philippines is home to illicit funding for human trafficking, kidnapping - AMLC

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2019 08:21 PM

MANILA - The Philippines has become a destination of illicit funding from various crimes, including human trafficking and kidnapping, the Anti-Money Laundering Council revealed in a report.

The report, entitled "A risk assessment on the Philippines' exposure to external threats based on submitted suspicious transaction reports," claimed the Philippines has become a top destination of illicit funding for criminal activity such as violation of environmental laws, illegal trafficking of persons, kidnapping for ransom, illegal drugs, plunder and corruption-related crimes, investment scams and estafa, smuggling, violation of intellectual property rights, illegal manufacture and possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, web-related crimes, financing of terrorism and terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism.

AMLC based its analysis on Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) submitted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas from January 2013 to December 2017.

BSP recorded a total of 755,457 STRs in the said time period.

For the study, AMLC covered 161,650 STRs involved international and domestic transactions with an aggregate amount of P17.895 trillion.

The study said sources of illegal funds were from violation of environmental laws, illegal trafficking of persons, kidnapping for ransom and terrorism, and conspiracy to commit terrorism.

The Philippines is also a source country of illicit funds generated from smuggling, the report added. 

AMLC also said majority of the funds generated for the other crimes are only circulating within the Philippine financial system.

The study, likewise, revealed the countries which posed the highest threat to the country.

The United States of America is tagged in majority of the inflows and outflows of all crimes with regard to STR volume.

In terms of peso amount, incoming illicit funds were coursed through various banks in the United Kingdom, while large amounts of illegally obtained funds were sent mostly to Hong Kong.

The study showed perpetrators of the crimes such as illegal drugs, plunder and corruption, investment estafa, smuggling, intellectual property rights violations, illegal manufacture and possession of firearms and web-related crimes prefer to use commercial banks.

Meanwhile, those involved in the other crimes primarily use money service businesses (MSB) in moving funds.

In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 68, adopting a national strategy on anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing.