PHL still on FATF’s ‘gray list’

THE Financial Action Task Force (FATF) kept the Philippines on its “gray list” of jurisdictions subjected to increased monitoring for “dirty money” risks, urging the country to address deficiencies “as soon as possible.”

In a statement dated Feb. 24, the FATF said the Philippines should continue addressing its strategic deficiencies in combatting money laundering.

The Philippines had made a high-level political commitment to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) initiatives in June 2021.

“The FATF notes the Philippines’ continued progress across its action plan, however all deadlines have now expired and work remains. The FATF encourages the Philippines to continue to implement its action plan to address the strategic deficiencies as soon as possible,” it added.   

According to the FATF, the country should demonstrate effective risk-based supervision of designated nonfinancial businesses and professions such as jewelry dealers, real estate brokers and developers, and service providers for financial businesses.

The Philippines should ensure that supervisors are using AML/CFT controls to mitigate risks related with casino junkets, the FATF said.   

The dirty money watchdog said the country should also enhance and streamline the access of law enforcement agencies to accurate and up-to-date information regarding beneficial ownership.

The Philippine government is currently reviewing proposed changes to the country’s Bank Secrecy Law, which is seen to help address money laundering and cybercrime incidents.   

The Paris-based FATF also said it will check if there is an increase in investigations and prosecutions related to money laundering cases, and the effectivity of the targeted financial sanctions framework for both terrorism financing and proliferation financing.

The Philippines will submit its next progress report to the FATF in May.

BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla earlier said officials are now hoping that the Philippines will be removed from the FATF’s gray list by January 2024, after missing an earlier deadline.

The Philippines and 22 other countries remained in the FATF’s gray list, while Cambodia and Morocco were removed.

Meanwhile, North Korea, Iran, and Myanmar were countries in the FATF’s black list. — KBT

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