Duterte signs law strengthening PH anti-money laundering efforts


President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday signed into law Republic Act (RA) No. 11521, amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, which gives the Philippines a better chance from being excluded in the “gray list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-International Cooperation Review Group.


Countries included in FATF’s gray list can have a harder time attracting foreign investments and getting good credit ratings, making it more difficult for them to raise funds from sovereign bond offerings.


Hence, Duterte’s signing RA 11521 into law gives the Philippines a better chance from not being included anew in the gray list.


Among the salient features of RA 11521 is it gives the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) more powers, like issuing subpoenas and investigate “suspicious transactions.”


The law also granted AMLC additional powers to “preserve, manage, or dispose assets pursuant to a freeze order, preservation order, or judgment of forfeiture.”


RA 11521 also covers Philippine offshore gaming operators and their service providers, and sets a threshold of P25 million for tax crimes.


Furthermore, the law requires the submission of reports on all real estate transactions involving an excess of P7.5 million to AMLC.


The Philippines was gray-listed by the FATF in 2000 for failing to address “dirty” money issues, which caused the government to enact RA 9160, or the Anti-Money Laundering Act, in 2001. The Philippines was removed from the gray list in February 2005.

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