Tue. May 11th, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday signed into law Republic Act (RA) No. 11521, which amended the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 and gave more powers to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Among the salient features of RA 11521 is it gives the AMLC power to issue subpoenas and investigate “suspicious transactions.”

The law also granted AMLC additional powers to “preserve, manage, or dispose assets pursuant to a freeze order, preservation order, or judgment of forfeiture.”

RA 11521 also covers Philippine offshore gaming operators and their service providers, and sets a threshold of P25 million for tax crimes.

Furthermore, the law requires the submission of reports on all real estate transactions involving an excess of P7.5 million to AMLC.

The signing into law of RA 11521 is a crucial step for the Philippines from being excluded in the gray list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-International Cooperation Review Group.

Inclusion in FATF’s gray list will make it harder to transfer funds between borders, which can be seen as a roadblock by foreign investors interested in the Philippines. Also, the country landing in the gray list will affect its credit rating, which is crucial for the country in seeking loans or raising funds from abroad.

The Philippines was gray-listed by the FATF in 2000 for failing to address “dirty” money issues, paving the way for the enactment of RA 9160, or the Anti-Money Laundering Act, in 2001. It was subsequently removed from the list in February 2005. SOVEREIGNPH

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