President Benigno Aquino III has signed two bills needed to prevent the Philippines from being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
In a statement Monday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino has signed into law “An Act To Further Strengthen The Anti-Money Laundering Law” and “The Terrorism Financing Prevention And Suppression Act of 2012.”
Signing the bills is a “major step forward in enhancing transparency and accountability,” Lacierda said.
“These qualify as two out of three reforms needed for the country’s compliance with the international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force,” according to the Palace official.
In a text message to GMA News Online, Lacierda said that Anti-Money Laundering Council executive director Vic Aquino, who is in Rome attending the FATF meeting, has been furnished a scanned copy of the two bills.
Both bills will strengthen government’s capability to identify and prevent financial transactions related to illegal activities and those that undermine global security, Lacierda noted.
“It is likewise an affirmation of the administration’s commitment to accountability and transparency which is a cornerstone of our governance,” he added.
An Act To Further Strengthen The Anti-Money Laundering Law allows the Anti-Money Laundering Council to pry into bank deposits based on an ex parte application or without informing, in this case, the bank account holders.
The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act allows authorities to freeze suspected terrorist funds and inquire into bank accounts even without a court order.
AMLC’s Aquino earlier warned the Philippines was facing drastic countermeasures or sanctions if it makes it to the FATF blacklist.
"The people [who] will be hit hard or hit hardest are our overseas Filipino workers and their families because these sanctions would result in delayed and costly remittances, high intermediation costs and other charges and these will not also be good for the banking sector," he said. —VS, GMA News