Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday said the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies will act with dispatch on the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) “while ensuring thorough and transparent deliberation.”
“It is imperative to have the means in law to better combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the financial system,” said Poe, the chairperson of the Senate panel, after Malacanang certified as urgent the bill amending the AMLA.
“A healthy financial system will have the capacity to absorb the impact of events such as the Covid-19 pandemic that heavily disrupted economic activities and displaced thousands of workers from their source of living,” Poe added.
The senator said discussions on the pending bills to amend AMLA will “proceed with urgency, but without foregoing meticulousness and transparency to guarantee that the new version of the law will balance the interests of all concerned sectors.”
Poe’s Senate Bill 1412 is one of the proposed measures filed seeking to further strengthen the AMLA or Republic Act 9160.
The AMLC earlier warned that if the Philippines fails to pass the said amendments and demonstrate effective implementation, the country will be under the danger of being “grey-listed.”
“Grey listing” of the Philippines would mean that: (a) the European Union will impose “enhanced due diligence” (EDD) on Filipino nationals and businesses; (b) EDD will entail additional cost and paperwork; (c) there will be higher interest rates/processing fees; (d) there will be higher cost of remittance for OFWs; (e) the Philippines will incur a “reputational risk” that would result in reduced investor and lender confidence; (f) there could be a decline in the GDP growth of the Philippines; and (g) there would be a setback in our efforts to achieve an “A” credit rating before 2022; among others.
“The above-cited consequences of being “grey-listed” by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) would surely have a negative impact not just on our OFWs, Filipino nationals and businesses abroad, but also on our country’s economy,” Poe said in her bill.