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Philippines Escalates Anti-Money Laundering Efforts Following FATF 'Grey List' Placement

Philippines President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has kicked off the new year by prioritizing efforts to enhance the country's money laundering safeguards and fortify defenses against terrorism financing. The decision comes in response to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placing the Philippines on its "Increased Monitoring" list, commonly known as the FATF "grey list." This designation prompts countries to address strategic deficiencies in their frameworks to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and the proliferation of financing.

Philippines Escalates Anti-Money Laundering Efforts Following FATF 'Grey List' Placement

During a recent meeting with the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), President Marcos directed the committee and various government agencies, including the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), to prioritize the rectification of anti-money laundering deficiencies and terrorism financing shortcomings. President Marcos set a specific target for the FATF to remove the Philippines from the grey list by October 2024.

PAGCOR, as the regulatory authority for commercial casinos in the Philippines, plays a critical role in ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering measures. The country has faced historical criticism for not adequately safeguarding its financial institutions, particularly within the casino sector. Initially exempted from the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001, casinos came under scrutiny, leading to legislative amendments in 2017 that extended the AMLA's applicability to both physical and online gaming sites operating from the Philippines.

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Addressing anti-money laundering concerns is crucial for the Philippines, particularly in avoiding placement on the FATF's "black list," officially known as the "High-Risk Jurisdictions" list. Countries designated on this list, marked by "serious strategic deficiencies," face heightened due diligence and counter-measures to protect the global financial system. Remaining on the grey list increases the risk of transitioning to the black list, potentially impacting overseas transactions and the financial activities of Filipino workers abroad.

To bolster anti-money laundering protocols and reduce terrorism financing risks, an 18-point action plan has been deployed across relevant government agencies in the Philippines. The government's commitment to addressing these deficiencies underscores a broader global effort to combat financial crimes and uphold the integrity of the international financial system. President Marcos's proactive stance reflects a determination to expedite reforms and align with international standards, signaling a commitment to rectifying financial vulnerabilities and ensuring the Philippines remains a responsible participant in the global financial landscape.



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