Home Top News PHL may exit FATF ‘gray list’ by 2025, BSP says

PHL may exit FATF ‘gray list’ by 2025, BSP says

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By Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINES is unlikely to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “gray list” by October this year, as earlier targeted, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said.

Mr. Remolona said at the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines-San Miguel Corp. economic forum held on Monday that the BSP is eyeing to exit the FATF’s list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring for “dirty money” risks by January 2025.

“In October, they decide whether we have fulfilled the 18 (action items). Between October and January, they check. January is the exit date,” he said.

“We’ve made very big progress… We’ve officially fulfilled 15 of the 18 (items). These have been classified as largely addressed, and we still have three more action items to work on,” Mr. Remolona added.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. earlier this year directed all concerned agencies to work on efforts to exit the list by October.

The FATF in its June update kept the Philippines in its gray list for a third straight year or since June 2021.

It said the Philippines has made “significant” steps in improving its anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime but still needs to address remaining deficiencies.

The country has acted on 15 out of 18 items recommended by the FATF. The remaining three action items include “demonstrating that supervisors are using AML/CFT controls to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets; applying cross-border measures to all main sea/airports including detection of false declarations of currency and confiscation action in line with risk; and demonstrating an increase in the prosecution of TF (terrorism financing) cases in line with risk,” the FATF said.

“We don’t get out of the gray list by October. Once we’ve been told we have largely addressed those three remaining items, there’s an exit process that then ensues,” Mr. Remolona said.

“If that works out, you have to come there in January to check whether what we said is true. If that works out, then we will exit in January,” he said.

Mr. Remolona added that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. is also working on tightening the monitoring of casino junkets.

Data from Moody’s showed that from 2018 to 2023, the Philippines was among the top five countries in Southeast Asia with money laundering activity events added over the five-year period.

The number of money laundering events added in the Philippines increased by 45% from 2022 to 2023, it said.

In 2002, the FATF blacklisted the Philippines for having no legal anti-money laundering framework. It was removed from the blacklist a year later after the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

The FATF Plenary, the intergovernmental organization’s decision-making body, usually meets in February, June and October.

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