Senate approves amendments on covered individuals in AMLA

THE Senate on Wednesday approved the inclusion of real estate brokers and dealers of precious stones and metals as covered individual in the amendments to the existing Anti-Money Laundering Act.

According to Senator Teofisto Guingona III, principal author and sponsor of the measure, the inclusion of real estate brokers and jewelry dealers will strengthen the covered institutions and individuals in AMLA.

He said that under the new bill, the word “agents” from the original law will be replaced with “brokers” as defined in the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines (RA No. 9646).

The Senate also accepted the definition of dealers of precious metals and stones under Jewelry Industry Development Act of 1998 which will be included as Section 3, “f” and “g” respectively.

“We have clarified the covered institution and individuals covered by the AMLA such as the brokers and dealers of precious metals and stones. Kailangan kasi may definitions, which nakikita natin sa ibang batas. Kailangan malaman natin kung ano ang definition kasi wala ito sa kasalukuyang AMLA,” Guingona said.

“Also, we have approved the definition of real estate brokers as defined under the Real Estate Service Act,” he added.

Guingona said the country needs to expand the coverage of the AMLA to comply with the standard set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which will convened its first meeting in the third week of January, in Rome.

“This bill serves to reinforce our country’s Anti-Money Laundering legislative measures.  It ultimately addresses the noted deficiencies in the  Philippines’ legal framework with regard to anti-money laundering, by making our state fully compliant with the international standards set forth  not only by the FATF, but also directives laid down under the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and  Psychotropic Substances (the Vienna Convention),  the 2001 United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (the Palermo Convention), the 2003 United Nations Convention Against Corruption (the Merida Convention), and other international standards in combating money laundering,” he explained.

The Philippines is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), which is a regionally focused international organisation  consisting of forty one (41)  members and a number of international and regional observers  including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Asian Development Bank and World Bank. The APG is an associate member of the FATF and all APG  members commit to effectively implement the FATF’s international standards for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, referred to as the 40+9 Recommendations.

The FATF was established in 1989 by G-7 nations. The FATF is an international governmental body whose purpose is the development and  promotion of policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Task Force is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and  regulatory reforms in these areas.

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