Philippines back in dirty money watchdog's 'gray list'


Posted at Jun 28 2021 09:43 AM | Updated as of Jun 28 2021 09:58 AM

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MANILA - A global dirty money watchdog has placed the Philippines anew on its "gray list" or jurisdictions under increased monitoring after failing to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.

In a report released last week, the Financial Action Task Force also placed Haiti, Malta and South Sudan to the watch list, and removed Ghana after the country had made progress.

"When the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring," the Paris-based watchdog said.

Lawyer Mel Georgie Racela, executive director of Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat, said the FATF noted several deficiencies in the country's implementation of the anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing efforts.

"The gray listing is the FATF mechanism to institute controls in regard to jurisdictions so that they can monitor the progress being implemented by jurisdictions included in the gray list," he told ANC's "Rundown" on Monday.

This comes even after the Philippines passed Republic Act 10927 or an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act in 2017 and RA 11479 or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

"Those are taken into consideration in regard to our technical compliance. But we need to exhibit or demonstrate effective compliance. So, that's where our deficiencies are because we lack the essential time to demonstrate effective implementation," Racela noted.

In 2000, the Philippines was blacklisted by FATF for lacking power to stop money laundering and to pin down individuals involved in terrorist financing.

The watchdog took the country off the list of non-cooperative countries and territories in 2005 after the enactment of AMLA.

Due to deficiencies in laws and regulations, the Philippines was placed in the gray list in 2010, and further downgraded to dark gray list in 2012 or last warning given to non-complying jurisdictions after which they will be blacklisted by the organization.

After the passage of RA 10168 or Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, the country was removed from the dark gray list in 2013.

In response to the country's being included in FATF's gray list, the AMLC has made "a high-level political commitment toward the timely implementation of the International Co-operation Review Group action plans to sufficiently address all anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing deficiencies of the country."

The AMLC noted that the mere identification of the Philippines as having “Jurisdiction under Increased Monitoring” with serious anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing deficiencies does not automatically mean imposition of countermeasures.

"It is only when the country fails to meet the deadlines will the FATF call on countries to impose countermeasures against the Philippines. Hence, all government agencies involved should deliver expected outputs on the action plans pertaining to them," the AMLC said.

The Philippines will be required to submit progress reports to the FATF thrice a year.