Press Release
September 2, 2011


Canada --- Proposed revisions to the Anti-Money Laundering Law (AMLA), or the Terrorist Financing Suppression Act of 2011 (Senate Bill 2676), filed by Senator Edgardo J. Angara were heard yesterday at a Senate public hearing.

At present, the law gives the Court of Appeals the power to freeze suspected terrorist accounts immediately, upon application of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), for a period not exceeding 30 days, with a requisite of notifying the account holder. The amendment seeks to make this requirement "ex parte", meaning, the notification could come after the inquiry.

SBN 2676 filed by Angara seeks to expand the coverage of the AMLA to include terrorist financing.

The bill defines terrorist financing as "any person who directly or indirectly, willfully and unlawfully, provides, collects or uses property or funds or makes available property, funds, financial service or other related services" with the intention to support terrorist activities.

Angara cites an article released earlier this year by International agency Bloomberg naming the Philippines as "Southeast Asia Terror hotspot" and noting that the country has overtaken Indonesia and Thailand, among countries facing great threat from terrorism.

Warning against complacency in dealing with terrorism, Angara said, "Terrorists rely mainly on funding. If the government is able to curb their access to funds, then we can effectively disarm them. We can do this by penalizing them and their financiers, even without an actual terrorist act taking place."

"Through this, the government will be able to take precautionary measures like having the suspect accounts, particularly terrorist financiers, shut down, preventing them from concealing or destroying incriminating evidence," he explained.

Angara, Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, is currently in Canada to attend the Executive Board meeting of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC).

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