A Paris-based watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has urged the Philippines to “swiftly implement” its action plan to address existing “strategic deficiencies” regarding anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT). The statement followed the organisation’s latest plenary meeting in late October.
The Philippines remains on FATF’s “grey list” of jurisdictions it thinks need increased monitoring regarding financial-crime risk. The Philippines was added to the “grey list” in June 2021.
According to the FATF, when a jurisdiction is under increased monitoring, it means the country “has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies” in its AML and CFT framework.
“The FATF urges the Philippines to swiftly implement its action plan to address the … strategic deficiencies as soon as possible as all deadlines expired in January 2023,” stated the organisation.
In its latest report, the FATF acknowledged that, since June 2021, the Philippines had “taken steps” towards improving its AML/CFT regime. But the FATF listed some areas where more should be done to address the country’s “strategic deficiencies” in those matters.
Among the recommendations, the international body said again the Philippines had to demonstrate that it was making use of AML and CFT controls “to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets”.
In January, the governor of the Philippine central bank said the country has been given a one-year extension – until January 2024 – to meet the financial standards needed to get off the risk list of the FATF.
The Office of the President of the Philippines issued last week a memorandum circular emphasising the “urgent implementation” of the country’s “National Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorism Financing, and Counter-Proliferation Financing Strategy 2023-2027″. The document was developed to help the Philippines to exit the FATF’s “grey list” by January 2024.
House of Representatives member Ruwel Peter Gonzaga said in September that the Philippines needed to “exert more diligence” in ensuring “strict enforcement” of AML controls in casino operations.
Alejandro Tengco, chairman and chief executive of the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), had mentioned in a keynote speech at an event in Manila in July, the Philippines’ urgent wish to free itself from the FATF grey list.
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