Frenchlyn Del Corro
Manila, Philippines – Nakatakdang isama ang real estate brokers at developers at apat pang amendments ang isasama sa Anti-Money Laundering Act na sinimulan nang talakayin ng komite ni Senador Grace Poe.
Sa kanyang opening statement sa pagsisimula ng pagdinig ng Senate committee on banks, financial institutions at currencies, sinabi ni Poe na lamang kailangan maipasa ang mga amendments kundi kailangan din natin magpakita ng nasasalat at positibong progreso sa ating anti-money laundering at counter-terrorist financial regime.
“The country’s financial experts want us to treat this as a form of national economic emergency, the same way we treated the pandemic as a national health emergency,” ayon kay Poe.
Punto ni Poe, narito ang ilang panukalang amendments sa AMLA:
Inclusion of real estate brokers and developers
Inclusion of tax crimes and violations of the Strategic Trade and Management Act relative to financing of weapons of mass destruction
Authorizing the AMLC to implement targeted financial sanctions
Authorizing the AMLC to preserve assets subject of these orders
Prohibition of injunction against the freeze orders and forfeiture powers
Expansion of the investigative powers of the AMLC to subpoena and contempt powers.
Ipinaliwanag ni Poe na noong 2000, naisama ang Pilipinas sa listahan ng non-cooperative countries at territories kaya naisabatas ang Republic Act (RA) 9160 othe Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 upang remedyuhan ang isyu.
Bukod dito, noong 2008, lumitaw ang banta na posibleng mailagay tayo sa grey-listing kaya naisabatas ang RA 10168 at 10365 noong 2012 at 2013.
“This happened again in 2017 which resulted in the passage of RA 10927,” saad ni Poe.
Aniya, dalawangpung tao at apat na batas ang nakalipas, nahaharap na natin tayo sa urgent period upang rebyuhin ang kahusayan ng ating kasalukuyang legal framework upang labanan ang money laundering.
“It is a global nuisance which we committed to address when we joined the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering,” paliwanag pa ng senador.
“This time around, we are at the tail end of an observation period where our commitment to a strong international financial system will be tested. It started last October 2019 and was supposedly due to end this month. This period was extended to February 2021 due to the pandemic. This is thus our chance to remedy the gaps in our laws.”
Ibinabala pa ni Poe kapag nabigo tayong tugunan ang mga pagkukulang na ito, na lumitaw sa pinakahuling ebalwasyon, mailalagay tayo sa grey list.
“This simply means that the Philippines will become a high-risk jurisdiction in terms of financial transactions,” ayon sa mambabatas.
“Such classification will have a negative impact on the economy and cost of doing business in this country. A grey-listing will subject Filipino nationals and businesses to enhanced due diligence for European Union transactions, and entail additional costs and paperwork for transactions made elsewhere.”
Sinabi ni Poe na anumang karagdagang transaction cost ay prohibitive, pero mas malaki ang epekto ng grey-list sa ating overseas Filipino workers na posibleng magdusa sa mas mataas na remittance at interest rates.
“Further, a grey-listing may prolong the timeline to achieve the “A” credit rating before 2022, as it can have an effect on price stability and perceived governance standards. Grey-listing also comes with reduced investor and lender confidence which may result in limited access to banking or financial services.” Ernie Reyes