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Asia bulletin: Philippines working toward removal from FATF grey list, extension granted

The Philippines is continuing its efforts to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) anti-money laundering (AML) grey list.  

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The country was added to the FATF's grey list in recent years, which has been detrimental to the image of legitimacy surrounding the country’s gambling businesses. 

A continued push to be removed from the French-based FATF’s list was confirmed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, after the country passed a January 2023 deadline to meet the FATF’s AML requirements.  

Speaking to local media, Medalla said the country is doing a “whole government approach” to tackle its inclusion on the grey list.  

Although the Philippines is still included on the FATF grey list now the January deadline has passed, the organisation remains dissatisfied with the country’s bank secrecy law.  

This law refers to the Republic Act 1405, which was introduced in 1955 to make all bank deposits confidential – including bonds issued by the Philippines Government.  

However, Medalla notes the vast improvements in the Philippines' ratings regarding recent legislation, which he describes as “excellent.” 

With these improvements in mind, the FATF has given the Philippines a one-year extension to meet its obligations.  

When initially placed on the list, the FATF said the country needed to ensure that it was “using AML/CFT controls to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets.” 

With steps taken in the right direction, it’s clear the FATF believes the Philippines will be able to make the necessary additional changes to its legislature to be removed from the grey list.  

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