Press Release
March 5, 2016

Drilon backs proposal to amend AMLA
Drilon: Next president must have political will to include casinos in AMLA coverage

Senate President and re-electionist senator Franklin M. Drilon today said that one of the huge challenges awaiting the next president is the inclusion of casinos in the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

Drilon said that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) may put pressure again on the Philippine government to improve its financial and banking transactions.

"I fully support the inclusion of casinos as a covered institution under the AMLA in order to safeguard the integrity of the country's financial transaction and align it with international standards," Drilon said.

"We should strengthen our anti-money laundering law to maintain our good financial standing and safeguard institutions like casinos from becoming a tool for money laundering by criminal elements," Drilon stressed.

Drilon was the Senate President when the AMLA or Republic Act No. 9160 was passed in 2001.

The four-time Senate President said that institutions which are extremely vulnerable to money laundering and other illegal monetary transactions should be put under the close supervision of agencies tasked with eliminating money laundering.

He said that recent reports of illegal monetary activities in the casinos only point out the need to include casinos in the list of institutions covered by the AMLA: "It just shows that we really need to upgrade our anti-money laundering law and subject it to much-needed and timely reforms, to make it more compliant to international standards set by the world's financial institutions and watchdogs."

However, Drilon said that the inclusion of casinos in the AMLA would require a strong political will, a trait voters should look for in choosing the country's next set of leaders.

"The passage of amendments to the AMLA will need principled leaders with integrity who will push for them and not bow down to lobbying. So I hope when we select our leaders, we will choose the ones who truly champion good governance and have the people's interest at their hearts," Drilon said. Drilon recalled that the inclusion of various transactions such as money changers, foreign exchange companies and casinos in the AMLA coverage was among the recommendations of the FATF in order to align the country's financial system with international standards and avert the repercussions of the blacklisting by the FATF.

As compliance to the FATF, the Congress amended the AMLA law to expand its coverage except for casinos due to the disagreeing versions between the Senate and the House of Representatives, noted Drilon. The Senate version included casinos in the AMLA coverage. The House of Representatives, however, did not include it.

The Congress also passed an amendment that allowed the Anti-Money Laundering Council to look into bank accounts of suspected money launderers without notifying them. It also enacted the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act.

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