International edition
September 21, 2021

“The country risks becoming the world’s money laundering capital”

Philippines presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to include casinos in AMLA coverage if elected

Philippines presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to include casinos in AMLA coverage if elected
Presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago vowed that she would certify a bill expanding the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) to include casinos, if elected in the May 9 national elections.
Philippines | 03/17/2016

Presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago vowed that she would certify a bill expanding the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) to include casinos, if elected in the May 9 national elections.

S

antiago said the recent $81-million fiasco involving funds hacked from the Bank of Bangladesh and plowed to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) highlights the urgent need to require casinos to report questionable deals to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

 

Santiago said the AMLA amendment is necessary for the Philippines to keep out of the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Paris-based global body against money laundering and terrorist financing.

 

“If the casino sector remains outside of the coverage of AMLA, the Philippines risks becoming the world’s money laundering capital,” she said.

Santiago won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1988 for reforming the Commission on Immigration and Deportation, which was then known as the “fake passport capital of the world.”

Santiago said the AMLA amendment is necessary for the Philippines to keep out of the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Paris-based global body against money laundering and terrorist financing.

If blacklisted by the FATF, the country would suffer higher financial transaction costs and stringent cross-border measures for money transactions. At present, the Philippines remains in the FATF “grey list.”

The Congress has sought to require casinos to report to AMLC in 2012, but the proposal was opposed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), saying that the provision might drive away investors.

Santiago vowed to match the lobby from the casino sector with political will. “The Filipinos should elect a president who will not bow to the whims of big businesses, to the detriment of public interest,” she added.

 

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