The Presidential Office in the Philippines has issued a Memorandum Circular, instructing key government agencies, including the country's gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), to conduct a comprehensive review and evaluation of their regulatory requirements. The goal of this directive is to facilitate the removal of the Philippines from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) 'gray list,' which designates countries with inadequate controls against money laundering and terrorism financing.
The Memorandum Circular, signed by the president on October 16th, emphasizes the critical and immediate implementation of the Philippines' National Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF), and Counter-Proliferation Financing Strategy for 2023-2027. This strategic plan was developed in response to the country's inclusion in the FATF's gray list in June 2021, following the identification of regulatory shortcomings.
The FATF had highlighted areas that required improvement, including the strengthening of AML/CTF controls related to casino junkets and enhancing information sharing among diverse financial institutions. Presently, the Philippines remains under strict observation by the FATF, which emphasizes the need to enhance the effectiveness of its AML/CTF regime.
The Philippines has faced challenges in moving off the international radar due to its subpar compliance results, resulting in its continued presence on the FATF gray list, while neighboring countries have made progress. The FATF has urged the nation to demonstrate the use of AML/CTF controls to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets and enhance supervision of non-financial businesses and professions, among other concerns.
Although the FATF recognized early this year that the Philippines had made progress across its action plan, all deadlines have now expired, and work remains. The FATF is urging the Philippines to address its strategic deficiencies promptly.
By fLEXI tEAM