ulia Abad-Bacay, executive director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), issued this warning after attending the budget hearing of the Senate committee on finance on Monday.
During the hearing, Bacay raised the need to amend the law or come up with another legislation to include casinos in the AMLA coverage as a “high level mission” from the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) might visit the Philippines late this year “to ensure that the Philippine efforts to have the casino sector included in the AMLA is being sustained.”
“So they want to make sure that a law will be passed by the Philippine Congress ideally by next year,” she told the committee chaired by Senator Loren Legarda.
“I have to emphasize your honor that starting this time, I mean henceforth until next year we have to prepare for the next mutual evaluation of the Philippines which will be held in 2018.”
Bacay said the inclusion of the casino sector in the AMLA coverage would be one of the major items that would be looked into during the said “mutual evaluation”
Asked later after the hearing what would happen to the country if it fails to include the casino sector in the coverage, the AMLC official said: “We might be placed back to the FATF’s black list… kasi it’s a major concern e, inclusion of casinos.”
Bacay then stressed the need for Congress to amend the law or pass a new law by next year to avoid being blacklisted by the Paris-based antimoney-laundering watchdog FATF.
Also during the hearing, Legarda asked how the government could ensure that the $81 Bangladesh bank heist would not happen again in the future.
“That would require, your honor, strengthening, not just the AMLC capacity but also the capacity of other sectors, including the banking sector,” Bacay said.
There is also a need, she said, to enhance the capacity of other law enforcement authorities in detecting the commission of the so-called “predicate crimes.”/rga