WITH the country’s one-year reprieve from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) almost over, Malacañang has ordered all concerned agencies to complete the country’s pending anti-money laundering commitments under the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) Action Plan by next month.
In his Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 37 dated October 18, 2023, Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin gave the instructions ahead of the deadline for the country to implement all 18 ICRG Action Plans by January 2024 in order to be removed in the FATF Grey List.
He said he wants the member agencies of the National Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF)/Counter-Proliferation Financing (CPF) Coordinating Committee (NACC) to “assign focal person/s tasked to ensure that all deliverables are completed and all targets are achieved by 30 November 2023.”
MC 37 also directed the agencies to establish a mechanism for monitoring the progress and reporting the completion of the said deliverables.
As of September 2023, the country still has eight pending deliverables.
The country was placed under the grey list or under increased monitoring status in June 2021 for failing to show “tangible and positive progress” in enforcing the recommendation of the FATF, a Paris-based money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.
FATF initially gave the Philippines only until January 2023 to meet its requirements, but it opted to extend the country’s compliance period until 2024.
To facilitate the country’s compliance with the ICRG Action Plan, Bersamin tasked the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to lead in the implementation of MC 37.
The AMLC is also required to submit to the Office of the Executive Secretary a comprehensive report on the implementation of the National AML/CTF/CPF Strategy (NACS) 2023-2027 on or before December 8, 2023.
“The urgent implementation of the NACS 2023-2027, particularly its Strategic Objective 1, will intensify and expedite efforts to address deficiencies identified by the FATF ICRG,” Bersamin said.
Countries which fail to implement the FATF recommendations can be included in its blacklist or the so-called high-risk jurisdictions.
FATF urged other countries to implement enhanced due diligence or counter measures for those included in its blacklist to protect the international financing system against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Currently, the following countries are included in the FATF blacklist: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Myanmar.